Film review: Shiva Baby

Film review: Shiva Baby (2020) Shiva Baby demonstrates the continuing power and richness of the classic theater trope of a dinner party gone bad. The film is a fast paced comedy that concentrates on family dynamics, inter-generational conflict, sexual complexities, and social repression. But not everyone gathered for the shiva in Shiva Baby understands the … Read more

Five thoughts about the war in Ukraine, on the fifth day

Five thoughts about the war in Ukraine, on the fifth day 1. When Vladimir Putin continually insisted in public that Russians and Ukrainians are one people, he might not have considered whether this would seriously damage the morale and motivation of Russian soldiers when they are told to kill Ukrainians. 2. Grandmas heading out to … Read more

Interview with Randy Brown

Interview with Randy Brown Randy Brown is a poet, journalist, and editor, and a leading figure in the veterans’ writing movement. He is the author of the award-winning poetry collection Welcome to FOB Haiku (Middle West Press, 2015); editor of a 2016 book-length collection of citizen-soldier journalism; poetry editor of the on-line literary journal As … Read more

Civilian War Casualties Day

Civilian War Casualties Day This is a call for an informal Civilian War Casualties Day. A call to you to help a community group acknowledge once a year the suffering caused, intentionally or coincidentally, to civilians by war and terrorism. Are there many civilian war casualties? The ratio of civilian war deaths to combatants’ deaths … Read more

Review: Alan Farrell, Expended Casings

Review: Alan Farrell, Expended Casings In his foreword (whimsically rendered “Deployed Forward”) to this collection of his poems, Alan Farrell ridicules pretension, incomprehensibility, poetry as therapy, literary critical jargon, posturing, the cult of free verse, swingebuckling, and shallow war poetry cliches. You sense that he is trying to be restrained and polite, and barely succeeding. … Read more

Edward Jasowitz, “Courtship in Italy”

Edward Jasowitz, “Courtship in Italy” Circumstances change the fashion,
 flowers and music yield to C-rations. This modest epigram is from a 1945 anthology of poems published in the Mediterranean edition of Stars and Stripes. I know nothing about Edward Jasowitz, and neither does Google, but I am grateful for these two lines. Most American soldiers … Read more

Keith Douglas’s “Christodoulos”

Keith Douglas’s “Christodoulos” Christodoulos moves, and shakeshis seven chins. He is that freaka successful alchemist, and makesGod knows how much a week. Out of Christodoulosʼ attic,full of smoke and smells, emergesoldiers like ants, with antsʼ erraticgestures seek the pavementʼs verge; weak as wounded, leaning in a knotshout in the streets for an enemy —the dross … Read more

Keith Douglas’s “Egypt”

Keith Douglas’s “Egypt” Egypt Aniseed has a sinful taste;at your elbow a woman’s voicelike I imagine the voice of ghosts,demanding food. She has no grace but, diseased and blind of an eyeand heavy with habitual dolourlistlessly finds you and Iand the table, are the same colour. The music, the harsh talk, the fineclash of the … Read more

Henry Lee’s “Starvation Romance”

Henry Lee “Starvation Romance” Starvation Romance I dream so often of the days we knewThose days when love was like a guiding light,And yet although I know your eyes were blue,Although I swore to be forever true,Although I dream of going home to youYour name has slipped my memory tonight. Unlike many soldier poets and … Read more

Review: Alice Oswald’s Memorial

Review: Alice Oswald’s Memorial If Alice Oswald’s Memorial is not the greatest English-language war poem of modern times, I can hardly wait to discover a better one. Alice Oswald’s idea was simple but brilliant. Writers talk sometimes about encountering a work that they wish they had written themselves, and Memorial would be such a work … Read more