Foreword Reviews

In Country

In the Iraq edition of wartime for American soldiers, fear of being blown to pieces by hidden explosives frequently loses out to the wiliest enemy of all—boredom. This is the wartime footing—six years in an M1A1 Abrams tank—that Iraq War veteran Hugh Martin makes use of to create his own masterful poetry. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Grantland, and numerous other prestigious journals, and The Stick Soldiers, his first collection, won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize.

Test Fire

—south of Jalawla

After we drive through
the barren hills
where the earth unrolls

itself for miles, where the soil’s
as stale as boxed cookies
sent from the Youngstown

USO, the gunners fire
machineguns at the ridge
wall’s face—small

dust-explosions lift
to the sky like faded desert
larks while the rest of us

shoot from our knees, our
chests, as copper casings
rain like loose change

across the dirt, then
as we convoy back
to Cobra from nowhere

the Bedouin come
to collect the shells
& stuff them in sacks

& after they go: only
boot & footprints,
a careful cursive of tire-tracks.

Reviewed by Matt Sutherland

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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