WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Articles

Vol. 31, 2019

The War in the Air: Post-War Memory in the Poetry of Howard Nemerov and Richard Hugo
He watched the sky and thought of all the fires the world had ever seen, fires from wars, fires from bombs. So much smoke. Where has it all gone? New smoke curled beneath wisps of old, drifting ever higher, higher. Where does it all go? He inhaled deeply...
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Two Poems: Sagittarius
SagittariusLeave behind the old myth of centaurready to launch his arrows,and sing yourself back to childhood:'m a little teapot, short and stout, here is my handle...Keep your eyes heavenward.You can see the Milky Way, steaming from the spout.The English...
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Two Poems Liam Corley
Not Now that StrengthYellow trucks the color of sand trickle down a defile,staggered by good doctrine on the intervals of a mile.The convoy rallies at a point just beyond the villagewhere scouts survey their six and twelve all along a ridge.No blast...
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A Path Less Traveled: A B-17 Navigator in World War II Europe
Far from the typical experience the American servicemen faced in the World War II (WWII), Second Lieutenant Marvin Edwards never thought he would find himself in such a harrowing scenario. Every day people fought in the war that devastated the European...
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The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force
The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force. Eliot A. Cohen. Basic Books, 2018. $27.00, 304 pp.In 1901 Vice President Theodore Roosevelt famously announced that "whether we wish it or not, we cannot avoid hereafter having...
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Two Poems: Bed Care on A Detainee
The detainee slowly praysto Allahas the pain in his stump maybe increasing-what remainsof his left leg.HM2 Gambino and Ireinforcethe bled-through gauze,HM2 placesthe abdominal padsaround the site,covering crimsonas I hold each on,and he begins to wrapthe...
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Revisiting Winning Hearts and Minds A Conversation with Jan Barry
On an unseasonably warm night in October 2017, I visited friend, poet and activist Jan Barry, at his home in Teaneck, New Jersey. He had just returned from an afternoon poetry reading in Nyack, New York, where he had read work along with other veteran...
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Goodbye, Beautiful: Iris Origo's A Chill in the Air and War in Val d'Orcia
From New York Review Books' 2017 catalogue, two titles stand out as having been particularly timely: the first, a reprinting-the eighth, in fact-of War¡n Val d'Orcia, the bestselling part of a diary kept by Iris Origo at her Tuscan estate during World...
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Writing the War
Kissing the Dead.../ have thumped and blown into your kind too often, i grow tired of kissing the dead.-Basil T. Paquet's (former Army medic) "Morning, a Death" in Winning Hearts and Minds.' War Poems by Vietnam VeteransIn November 2017, the old war...
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Gaming
During my time stationed at Upper Heyford, we frequently played games, war games or "exercises," officially known as Warfare training. We wore olive drab Chem Gear over our fatigues. These "suits," made thick and thermal, with a charcoal lining, as if...
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Three Poems: The Math of Tet
There are six sides an army jeep mightland upon after flying into the airand returning to a parking spot in the backof headquarters in the middle of Saigonin January of 1968. All four tiresare only on one side of the six chances.These are facts. Finite...
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King and Country: Remembering a Chthonic Tragedy at Passchendaele, 1917
Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight, / (Under Lord Derby's Scheme). I died in hell- / (They called it Passchendaele).1 -Siegfried SassoonPrologue: British Commemorations of the Great War in the 1960sIn Awake in the Dark, Roger Ebert makes...
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Distraction
While sheltering from the smoky air in Seattle, and reading David Huddle's poem Thirteen.I exhale to the floor,sit cross-legged,prop my right knee. Scartissue or arthritis,I want pain the same wayI want a thief's stash-to belong to someoneelse. I must...
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"In the Company of Patriots"
When I wear the clothing of the dead, they see glimpses of light again.-Maureen Hurley"Sixth of August," The Hermit Kingdom: Poems of the Korean War (1995)I never knew my father, a man devoted to military service and killed by a sniper in Korea when...
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"Something for the Pain"
Late one Afghan August night in Helmand Province, my squad stepped off on a night ambush patrol. Even standing still in the dark at Patrol Base Outlaw, I was sweaty and itchy. My armor dug into my lower back, and I couldn't find a comfortable position....
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Four Poems
AnniversaryA sandbag was put over their headswhile it was soaked in hot sauce. Okay, that's badbut these guys have info, we are trying to get them to talk,that's al, we don't do this to al prisoners,just the few we have which is about 30-40 not many-Letter...
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Penelope
they were half-way through their six month deployment, though it felt like a lifetime. she had received two letters since he deployed; she read them both hundreds of times. he hadn't mentioned her letters, but she kept sending one a day-two on Sunday,...
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A Hell of One's Own: Combat Trauma in Dante's Inferno
Must you have battle in your heart forever?-Odyssey 12:132Dante Alighieri was twenty-four years old in 1289 when he saw combat in the Battle of Campaldino as a "feditore", a cavalry soldier from Florence.1 From what we know of the battle,2 Dante's unit...
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Life in Wartime DogWatches: Stories from the Sea, by Rolf Yngve
Heard of some grave sites, out by the highway,A place where nobody knows.-Talking Heads, "Life During Wartime" (1982)From a safe distance, from the vantage point of those left back home, war might look orderly and grand, movements on a map, clearly defined...
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Ethical Modernity and the Case of the Heart of the Matter
It's my most popular book but I don't like It any longer. It was written at the end of the war, too soon. I wasn't up to It [. . .] and people kept getting It wrong.-Graham Greene, Lambert & Pritchett Interviews (1966, 1978)Graham Greene's 1948 novel,...
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A Private War
Sixty years ago the great Martha Gellhorn (one of the ablest war correspondents of the century) wrote of her former faith in the impact of her calling:If people were told the truth, if dishonesty and injustice could be shown to them, they would at once...
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Gas! Gas! Gas!
"VX gas is a nerve agent," the Intelligence officer begins, my platoon sitting in % ? a half circle in the sand at his feet. "It's odorless, tasteless, and heavier than 1¶ air. If you breathe it in, it'll settle in your lungs and attack your nerve centers....
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Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One
Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One, Tate Britain, 5 June - 23 September 2018. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/aftermath Book: Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One. Emma Chambers (editor). Tate Publishing, 2018....
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Dunya Mikhail's the Beekeeper and in Her Feminine Sign
In 2014, Daesh entered the village of Kocho. They claimed that they would leave the villagers alone if they gave up all their weapons. The people quickly agreed to their demands in hopes that it would bring them peace and safety; but, three days later,...
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The War in Their Lives
I was watching them, with much amusement and fascination. Sitting on my left was my father-a retired doctor and senior colonel from the Chinese People's Liberation Army, and on my right, was my father-in-law-a retired US Army Colonel from West Point....
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A Picture of the Old Man
I am not sure what comments I can makeabout my father, who poses as the manin this photograph from Egypt, '43,and wears his fatigue cap with bill rolled backupon his already retrenched hairline.He's looking off into some distance-forthe record, either...
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Maybe One Day
Afghan police officer Said Amir doesn't know how long he'll guard Farkhunda Malikzada S home. After her murder, her family received death threats. They were accused of being atheists and fled Kabul. Amir heard about Farkhunda S death from his younger...
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"The Violence within That Protects Us from a Violence Without": John Balaban's Hard-Bitten Lyricism in Empires
In "The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words" (1942), a seminal wartime mediation on the palliative force of poesis, Wallace Stevens suggests that the nobility of poetry has much to do "with our self-preservation." The expression of poetry's nobility through...
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A Conversation with Monty Little
Larry Abbott (LA): You studied architecture at Arizona State University, but left for the Marines. What led to your decision?Monty Little (ML): I graduated from Tuba City High School, in Arizona, and I wanted to go to an art school after graduation,...
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An Adventurous Day
When Clyde 'Sgt. B' finally told me how my old man died, he spit the words out like pieces of plastic that had been bouncing around in his mouth for too long.'RPG. It was an RPG. Hit that goddamn tree, I remember the nest of fire ants exploding. We was...
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Cherry
Cherry. Nico Walker. Knopf, 2018. $17.67, 317 pp.I first heard of Cherry by Nico Walker, a story about a soldier who served in Iraq, like me, on NPR, and I thought, I've got to read this book, and although it is a work of fiction, it is the most realistic...
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Two Poems: While You Were Shopping
after W. D. SnodgrassGo Shopping. Keep on shopping.-Tony Blair and George W. BushThey fly home tonight, a 10-hour trip in Emirate's first class: Florence to Philadelphia. Last shop, Caravaggio's Florentine Leather. Her new handbag is fashioned from calfskin,...
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Reasonable Men
In September 1970 I decided to move to Beirut, Lebanon, to act as the agent of several French companies including my father's company, Alta, which manufactured deep-well pumps.In those days, Beirut was the Paris of the Middle East. From October to January...
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Three Poems
The Things They Carried (Eastern Nigeria, 1968)in her brain's left pocket, she stuffsthe image of a pregnant woman's bellysplit open on the side of Aba Road, a bloodiedcord dangling without a human anchor. shewill try not to speak of this when she is...
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Two Poems Stephen Gibson
Gettysburg Stereopticons, Unknown Authorship, Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique ShowGardner moved a dead Confederate from where he fell in Devil's Den,then repositioned his weapon so that it seemed to better tell the truth.Gardner's crew had earlier...
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Tradition Sabotaged, Subverted and Slain: Post-Somme War Poetry and the Martial Canon
While contemplating the vast difference which separates post-Somme war poetry from the more traditional martial canon, I came upon the following text, which I think does much to illuminate the fascination that war poetry exercises in the general culture....
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Puzzles
Mom and I studied each puzzle piece with the intensity of an archeologist who just discovered a rare artifact. The sheer curtains swayed in the warm, refreshing spring breeze off the Mediterranean. We had set up a card table in the petit salon, off the...
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Terry Graff's Warbirds: An Ornithological Tour De Force
The recent work of Canadian artist Terry Graff focuses on hybridizations of nature and technology; more specifically, on the fusion of birds with war machinery and combat weaponry in a black comedy of nature fighting back. To date, Graff's Warbird series...
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Four Film Reviews
12 STRONGIn the dark of one night eighteen years ago, a Chinook helicopter of the Army's "Nightstalkers" aviation regiment deposited Green Beret Captain Mark Nutsch and eleven other members of his Special Forces A-team somewhere near Dehi in northern...
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The Human Part
I watch and listen as the Nazi Suchomel explains in precise detail how Jews arriving in Treblinka were beaten and whipped, driven into the undressing room. From there the men were taken directly to the gas chambers, while the women and their children...
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Servant of Freedom
We have a place, all of us, ¡n a long story-a story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It Is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story...
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Comic Images from "Over There": Soldier Produced Comics of WWI
In the Somme Valley, the back of language broke. It could no longer carry Its former meanings. World War One changed the life of words and Images of art, radically and forever. It brought our culture Into the age of mass-produced Industrialized death....
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An Introduction to Tran Van Dinh's "The Quirks and Whims of Heaven: A Meeting with President John F. Kennedy and the Buddhist Crisis"
IntroductionIn the summer of 2011, I visited Tran Van Dinh (1923-2011) at his home in Washington, D.C., after he had read and responded personally to my published article on his semiautobiographical novel Blue Dragon, White Tiger: A Tet Story. He was...
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Vol. 30, 2018

The Land of VA
HE HAS LIVED IN THE LAND OF VA for almost fifty years now. It is now familiar territory, unlike those early years, when he had been dropped full force into unknown terrain. A terrain of stark'white, dark green and a grey that moved like a fog-a fog that...
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Land of Mine
WHICHEVER INDUSTRY BRAIN TURNED the Danish title Under sandet ("under the sand") into Land of Mine (2015) should probably be demoted to snack-cart management-even though the movie does feature plenty of live, buried land mines. (If punning is in order,...
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Vol. 28, 2016

Saving Face Humiliation, Shame, and the Affective Economy of War
"I'm talking about having looked over the brink and seen the bottom of the pit and realized the truth of that linchpin of Stoic thought: that the thing that brings down a man is not pain but shame!"-James B. Stockdale, Courage under FireIn the opening...
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Vol. 27, 2015

Women's/War Stories: The Female Gothic and Women's War Trauma in Helen Benedict's Sand Queen
The American war novel has traditionally registered issues of masculinity, individuality, brotherhood, trauma, and memory. As more American women serve on the front lines, the conventions of the American war novel may reconfigure to represent the issues...
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Vol. 24, 2012

What We Sign Up For
What We Sign Up For. Lisa Siedlarz. San Antonio, TX: Pecan Grove Press, 2011, $15.00, paper, 71 pp.Informed by a decade of war, Lisa Siedlarz's collection of poetry is a reflection on her younger brother, Kevin's, wartime experiences before, during and...
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