Brian Turner, ‘Here, Bullet’ author, to discuss his poetry, life
Almost eight years ago, when we were in the middle of another presidential campaign and the Iraq war was grinding on, the old Book World supplement in The Washington Post published one of its most striking covers. It was April 20, 2008. The page was filled with a black-and-white photo by Andrea Bruce showing a scene of absolute devastation in Iraq. In the gray sky above was printed a poem by Army Sgt. Brian Turner called “Here, Bullet.” It opens with these lines:
The poem, written in a matter of minutes while Turner was serving in Iraq as an infantry team leader, became something of a sensation among U.S. soldiers. After he returned home, it became the title piece in his first collection of poetry, published in 2005.
Turner was working in the long tradition of Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon and other war poets who brought the concision and vision of verse to experiences of battle. He went on to publish a second collection, “Phantom Noise” (2010), which was shortlisted for the T.S Eliot Prize, and a memoir called “My Life as a Foreign Country” (2014).
On Thursday at 7 p.m., Turner will be my guest in the Life of a Poet series, co-sponsored by the Library of Congress, Hill Center and The Washington Post.
The series, which is underwritten by National Capital Bank, offers a chance to consider a poet’s entire career during an hour-long conversation. In addition to asking Turner about his war-time experiences as a soldier and a writer, I’ll ask him to read a selection of poems from his collections. The event will be followed by a reception, where copies of Turner’s books will be offered for sale.
The event is free and open to the public, but please register to reserve your seat at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington. Call 202-549-4172.
Richard Ford to receive literary award
Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford will receive the Fitzgerald Award for Achievement in American Literature at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival in Rockville at 5:15 p.m. Saturday. As part of the festival, in its 19th year, Ford will teach a free master class at 11:15 a.m. Classes will also be offered throughout the day by Mary Kay Zuravleff, Margaret Talbot, Robert Olen Butler and E. Ethelbert Miller.
For registration and information about additional festival events starting Thursday, visit fscottfestival.org or call 301-309-9461.
Brian Turner has brought the concision of verse to experiences of battle. He wrote “Here, Bullet” while serving in Iraq.