Brian Turner discusses his new memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country, the Iraq War, poetry and prose, and his family’s long history of serving in the military....more
Posts Tagged: war
Nazir lies buried in the mind’s forbidden faraways, on the margin of the village graveyard, obscured by nettle....more
The history of the whole world can be told as the stories of conquerors and the conquered—the former consumed with thoughts of destiny and tyranny, the latter knowing only the persistence of time and the pure grit of bodies....more
The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium is a weekly forum for discussing the tradition and future of text/image work. Open to the public, it meets Monday nights 7-9 p.m. EST in New York City....more
As modern warfare has changed, so has the war novel. The Believer’s blog has an interview with author Aaron Gwyn, where he discusses his latest novel and the changing reality of the American soldier:
Drone operators in the American Southwest pull the triggers that send Hellfire missiles into Taliban camps, then leave work, and go through the drive-through at Taco Bell.
I lost my photo. Part of it, anyway. I lost some of the painless pride of ownership, the selfish satisfaction of creation....more
At the New York Times, novelist Roxana Robinson considers the criticism fiction writers receive when they write stories far from their own experience. Some people ask, “Do novelists have the right to write stories that aren’t their own?” Can someone who’s never been in combat, for example, write about war?...more
Peter van Agtmael “has no desire to be at war.” But he spends his life documenting it with his camera, in all its manifestations: from the barracks to the homes of veterans. In the introduction to his recent book-length collection, Disco Night Sept....more
The Islamic State of Iraq in Syria, known better as ISIS, has operated in Syria and Iraq since 2003 as an offshoot of al-Qaeda—at least until al-Qaeda disavowed any connection. The military organization is neither a political party nor religious group, though membership primarily consists of Sunni Muslims, the “orthodox” branch of Islam and the religion’s largest sect (Baghdad’s government contains mostly Shiite Muslims)....more
In his newly published The Novel: a Biography, Michael Schmidt takes some time to study how the wars of the 20th century shaped the great American novel, citing Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, and Joseph Heller among those that best dealt with the subject....more
Memorial Day is a time of both national reflection and diverse local tradition. In a piece connecting poetry and community storytelling, The Atlantic offers some literary history in observance of this past weekend’s holiday. Two years after the end of the Civil War, the magazine published Francis Miles Finch’s conciliatory poem, ”The Blue and The Gray.” Finch, a northerner, was inspired to write the piece by four women in Columbus, Mississippi, who decorated the graves of deceased Confederates and Union soldiers alike in a gesture of nonpartisan respect. Today, students in Columbus honor the event by retelling the life stories of those buried in that cemetery....more
In 2011, two decades after her debut, PJ Harvey released what might actually be her best album ever: Let England Shake. Recorded in a church in Dorset, LES takes as its subjects homeland and war....more
The incinerator burned amputated body parts. It sat immediately next to the barracks in Baghdad....more
Journalist and novelist Masha Hamilton sits down with Maud Newton to discuss the influences behind her latest book, What Changes Everything, the intricacies of writing about conflict, and how her work in war zones has helped shape her fiction....more
I wasn’t thinking about the Syrian Civil War and the US’s possible involvement in it when I chose Kerry James Evans’s debut collection, Bangalore , for the Rumpus Poetry Book Club...more
Memoirist, playwright, and short story writer Saïd Sayrafiezadeh discusses his choice to link stories together using an unnamed war, writing without a game plan, and the stasis in his own life that ultimately took shape in the lives of his characters....more
But I had deployed only once to Iraq. When so many others, including friends of mine, had suffered two, three, four, five, or more deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, why should I be the one enjoying the comfort of flying first-class?...more
“Eli. The gun is in my bedroom. There are bullets in there, too. I don’t need to worry about you guys, do I?”...more
Happy Memorial Day!
To start the holiday off right, an illustration from Rumpus illustrator-in-chief Jason Novak:...more
They’d been hiding in the jungle for two days, having fled their homes in Burma’s northern Kachin state to evade approaching firefights between the Burmese military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA)....more
With this much self-awareness and meditation, residents such as myself tend to forget – or, rather, concentrate on forgetting – that Encinitas is also a half-marathon’s distance from the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, which is roughly the size of Rhode Island...more
Sleep Song, the third installment of Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd’s poetic performances that showcase stories about soldiers of color in wars, had its Harlem Stage show cancelled because its Iraqi performers were denied visas.
At Colorlines, Seth Freed Wessler discusses the show and how “navigating the space of war does not end when war ends....more
It was a cool, blue morning in Baghdad. I stood in the rubble of a bombed out building, a shell of what it had once been....more
“On Sept. 11, 1948, my father, Khalilullah Nuristani, was born under the same burden of greatness. In retrospect, he must have believed that he could fulfill what had been his father’s unfulfilled destiny. My father became a tireless fighter for a free Afghanistan.”
Afghan writer Kakail Nuristani compiled photos, letters and documents from his father’s life, working with Adam Klein to tell a fascinating story that spans three-generations....more
“They started taking detainees away every night, by groups of twenty. We didn’t know where they were going to, but we thought the US. One day, it was my group’s turn. The Pakistanis took away our chains and gave us handcuffs ‘made in the USA’....more
“It’s war. They don’t give a freakin’ you-know-what about you. They will kill you. They’re out there to kill you. So I’m ‘a kill them....more
Note: All names have been changed.
Major Mark Ross is currently home from Iraq. He has had two tours of duty and will redeploy in a year. He knows he suffers from PTSD and that returning to battle is unhealthy, but wants go back, feels he needs to go back....more
On February 20, 2007, April Somdahl’s brother Sgt. Brian Rand shot himself near Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He had just returned from Iraq and was about to become a father.
Nearly everyday while Brian was deployed, April spoke with him over Yahoo chat....more
“All I really have to say about life is that for it to be regarded as valuable, it has to first be regarded as grievable. A life that is in some sense socially dead or already ‘lost’ cannot be grieved when it is actually destroyed....more