Society & Culture

America’s best-known soldier poet to read in Athens

Athens, Ga. – Award-winning poet Brian Turner, who has written extensively about his wartime experience in Iraq as well as about post-combat life, will read on April 1, at 7 p.m. at Ciné Bar/Café/Cinema in downtown Athens. This event, sponsored by The Georgia Review, published at the University of Georgia, and the Georgia Poetry Circuit, is open to the public free of charge.

Turner’s debut book of poems, Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005), offers a first-person account of the Iraq war. A New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” this collection won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the 2006 Pen Center USA “Best in the West” award, and the 2007 Poets Prize.

His second collection, Phantom Noise (Alice James Books, 2010), has continued to expand Turner’s readership in the United States and abroad. According to Patrick Hicks of Augustana College, Phantom Noise “was shortlisted for the coveted T.S. Eliot Prize, and Turner now travels the world for readings and has made appearances on National Public Radio, the BBC, RTÉ in Ireland, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.”

Turner served seven years in the U.S. Army, including one year as an infantry team leader in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999-2000 with the 10th Mountain Division.

Of Here, Bullet, Joel Brouwer wrote in the New York Times Book Review: “The day of the first moonwalk, my father’s college literature professor told his class, ‘Someday they’ll send a poet, and we’ll find out what it’s really like.’ Turner has sent back a dispatch from a place arguably more incomprehensible than the moon-the war in Iraq-and deserves our thanks.”

Turner’s poetry has been published in The Georgia Review and many other journals, on the Poetry Daily website, and in the Voices in Wartime Anthology published in conjunction with the feature-length documentary film of the same name (both released in 2005). Turner is also featured in Operation Homecoming (2007), a documentary that explores the firsthand accounts of American servicemen and women through their own words. He earned an MFA from the University of Oregon and has lived abroad in South Korea.

The Georgia Poetry Circuit is a coalition of colleges and universities that annually supports statewide tours by three nationally recognized poets. The Georgia Review, the quarterly journal of arts and letters founded at the University of Georgia in 1947 and published there ever since, has been the UGA sponsor since the tour’s 1985 inception.

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