“All war literature, across the centuries, bears witness to certain eternal truths: the death and chaos encountered, minute by minute; the bonds of love and loyalty among soldiers; the bad dreams and worse anxieties that afflict many of those lucky enough to return home. And today’s emerging literature… both reverberates with those timeless experiences and is imprinted with the particularities of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq: changes in technology, the increased presence of female soldiers and, most importantly, the all-volunteer military, which has opened a chasm between soldiers (“the other 1 percent”) and civilians.”
Source: Human Costs of the Forever Wars, Enough to Fill a Bookshelf – The New York Times
Source: “How the Civil War Transformed American Literature”: A Talk by Randall Fuller | Humanities Texas
“If the American literature that Emerson had summoned into being in the 1830s and ‘40s helped galvanize opinion that led to the Civil War, the Civil War in turn changed what that literature would be, and this poem by Whitman is just an example of that.”
Letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Walt Whitman “I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful gift of ‘Leaves of Grass.’ I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed.”
“The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan fully meet Fussell’s description of the ironic: they were worse than expected. Both began with hubris and false victories, turned into prolonged stalemates, and finally deserved the bitter name of defeat. The shorthand for Iraq, from “Mission Accomplished” to Falluja, Abu Ghraib, civil war, the surge, U.S. withdrawal, and the ongoing sectarian killing, is a story of exploded illusions. The first wave of literature by American combatants in these long, inconclusive wars has begun to appear—poems, memoirs, short stories, novels. Their concerns are the same as in all war writing: bravery and fear, the thin line between survival and brutality, the maddening unknowability of the enemy, tenderness, brotherhood, alienation from a former self, the ghosts of the past, the misfit of home.”
Source: Home Fires – The New Yorker
A Thickness of Particulars: The Poetry of Anthony Hecht
jonathan f. s. post
Catwalks through the Middle Realms of Heaven | Adrienne Leavy | First Things
“In the spring of 1943, while studying at Columbia, Hecht enlisted in the army. In 1945, his division landed in France and moved through Europe as part of the final campaign against the German forces. In April, Hecht was involved in the liberation of the concentration camp at Flossenburg in Bavaria, an experience that ensured the “ongoing place of war and suffering in his poetry.” Quoting Randall Jarrell’s remark that “the real war poets are always war poets, peace or any time” (which Colin Tóibín subsequently applied to Hecht), Post demonstrates how this harrowing experience suffuses Hecht’s body of work.”
Solmaz Sharif has been nominated for a National Book Award for “Look,” her first book of poetry.
Source: The Weird and Beautiful War Poetry of Solmaz Sharif
Piotr Florczyk reflects on a brief new anthology of poetry written during the Siege of Leningrad (1941–1944).
Source: Making Meaning Under the Siege: On Five Leningrad Poets – Los Angeles Review of Books
Besides being a poet, a member of the Ottoman parliament Mehmet Emin Yurdakul appealed to nationalists especially in the formidable atmosphere of the early 20th century when the Ottoman Empire collapsed and a new nationalist state rose
Heading to war
In 1897, when the Turko-Greek War exploded, Mehmet Emin wrote a small poem, “Anadolu’dan Bir Ses yahut Cenge Giderken” (A Voice from Anatolia or Heading to the War), which brought him great fame. The poem was written in a folkloric rhyme and meter, which fits the nationalist attitude and mood of the poem.
Mehmet Emin had his first collection of poems published in July 1897 together with paintings by Fausto Zonaro, showing Turk soldiers in the Greek war.
Source: Mehmet Emin Yurdakul: ‘My name is Turk’ – Daily Sabah
The carnage in Turkey and Syria has led to a blossoming of poetry – with women at the forefront. Here, two of them tell their stories. Two female poets, part of an emergent school of verse, much of it written by women: Bejan Matur and Maram al-Masri – Kurdish and Syrian respectively. Matur and Masri are the two most illustrious and cogent of this new generation of female poets; their verse combines to create a devastating but richly composed verbal landscape that it is at once epic and intensely human. Raw and lyrical, of the moment but seeped in the memories of their people, immediate and for ever.
Source: Voices above the chaos: female war poets from the Middle East | Books | The Guardian