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March 6, 2006

War Veterans Brian Turner and Doug Anderson to Read Their Poetry at Smith

Editor's note: For a photo of Brian Turner or Doug Anderson, e-mail Marti Hobbes.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—War veterans Brian Turner and Doug Anderson will read their poetry of war at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. The event is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.

Turner—whose first collection, “Here, Bullet,” was published in the fall—earned a master’s degree from the University of Oregon and lived in South Korea for a year before serving for seven years in the U.S. Army. He was an infantry team leader in Iraq from 2003 to 2004 and, prior to that, served in Bosnia-Herzegovina. His poetry has appeared in many journals and in the “Voices in Wartime Anthology” published in conjunction with the feature-length documentary film of the same name.

“Here, Bullet” is powerfully affecting poetry of witness, exceptional for its beauty, honesty and skill. The New York Times Book Review selected it as an Editor’s Choice, admiring the book for its fierce “attention to the terrors as well as to the beauty of ruins.” In a New Yorker profile, Turner explained that “when given time to sleep after a mission, I would often use a red lens flashlight (to avoid disturbing other exhausted soldiers) and either work on a poem or write in my journal about the day’s events.” His poems, says Turner, were born of “the struggle to preserve something of value from what seems to be the inexorable pull of loss.”

Doug Anderson served in the Vietnam war, and his poems reflect the horrors, tragedies and unlikely friendships of that tragic time. Upon returning home, Anderson earned his master’s degree from the University of Arizona and then settled in Northampton, where he began to write plays and poems in a workshop with poet Jack Gilbert. A meticulous, unerring chronicler, Anderson has published three volumes, including “The Moon Reflected Fire,” winner of the 1995 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Poet Joyce Peseroff writes that his work is “not just about Vietnam but resonant with the history of warriors from the backyard to ‘The Iliad’ to the Bible.”

Anderson’s subsequent collection, “Blues for Unemployed Secret Police,” was funded by a grant from The Eric Matthieu King Fund of the Academy of American Poets and praised by Booklist for its “powerful, funny-horrific, brutal-tender poems.” His recent poetry and prose have been published in Ploughshares, the Connecticut Review and The Autumn House Anthology of American Poetry, as well as this year’s Contemporary American War Poetry. Recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, Anderson teaches at the University of Connecticut and the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Its Social Consequences. He is currently at work on a memoir, “Don’t Rub Your Eyes,” about Vietnam and the 1960s.

This reading is presented by the Poetry Center and is part of “Stories of War and Return,” a free, public series of films, lectures, readings, plays, workshops and photo exhibits sponsored by Hampshire College in late March and April. The series aims to seize the opportunity squandered after the Vietnam War to remake a community divided by war into one united in understanding and support for veterans returning from service in Afghanistan and Iraq. For information about other events, contact Robert Meagher at

The reading will be followed by a book sale and signing. For further information, contact Cindy Furtek in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson, director, at (413) 585-3368.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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