The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 07, 2008

You Betray Us

Pink_elephantInteresting note about the first three poets that this blog has covered this month: all three of them come across as strongly anti-war (to my readings at least--let me know if you disagree). 

This is a strange post for me to write, because I have a feeling that this is not the place to be waxing poetic (HA!) about either side of the issue, but at the same time it feels completely disingenuous to ignore what is so clearly an important issue in the lives of the first three featured poets on this blog.

I started noticing this pattern in the work of many poets after Jason B. Jones' fantastic post about anti-war poets on Bookslut, or perhaps more accurately a post about the lack of pro-war poets, and I've seen reference to the idea so much since 2003 that I am beginning to suspect it's becoming a meme. As Jason asks in his post, is there a Rupert Brooke of today (God help us all)?   

I think this is an interesting question, partly because Paley, Bidart, and Komunyakaa were all placed this closely together on the blog largely through chance, which is doubtlessly making any common theme amongst them appear to be the hand of fate. What do you all think--is anti-war verse something that poets are writing about more often nowadays, or is it the same as it ever was?


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IM Ready

What, no soldier-poets waxing poetic about being fungible? About using tampons to staunch wounds and silly string to find the trip wires to bombs?

I spent the last week-end giving away poems at a trade show for made-in-my-state vendors. I decided lots of poetry is made in my state, so I belonged there during NPM. I was able to afford just a haiku sized booth. Most people smiled when they read their poem, "Fat is Not a Fairy Tale" by Yolen, "A Blessing" by Wright, "Introduction to Poetry" by Collins among them. Two couples stopped and talked about poetry. The first couple were a may-september couple, and he wore a vets cap indicating both Viet Nam and Gulf War service. They met in that second war. They were medics. They were struggling. The second couple had both been in the Gulf War as Marines, and their son "followed in the footsteps" - to Iraq. He was struggling and they were worried. I pointed them to Voices in Wartime. They entered a raffle to win a copy of my war & peace anthology "The Other Side of Sorrow." I am going to send them a copy whether they win or not.

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