Poet and soldier. Those two nouns usually don't march down the road hand in hand. But in the case of Brian Turner, author of Here, Bullet, (Alice James Books, 2005) both are apt descriptions. If you want a book that vividly paints a word picture of the Iraq war, then I highly recommend this collection of poems. In the classroom I would use it as a read- aloud so that I could pick the poems appropriate to my group of students. The poems are intense and require maturity in the reading audience. Here is a sample from the poem, "Iraqi Policemen":
The explosion left a hole in the roadbed
Large enough to fit a mid-sized car.
It shattered concrete, twisted metal,
busted storefront windows in sheets
and lifted a BMW chassis up onto a rooftop.
The shocking blood of the men
forms an obscene art: a moustache, alone
on a sidewalk, a blistered hand's gold ring
still shining, while a medic, Doc Lopez,
pauses to catch his breath, to blow it out
hard, so he might cup the left side of a girl's face
in one hand, gently, before bandaging
the half gone missing.
This book would be a great supplement for a high school language arts class on the importance of word choice, or for those of you who teach history, social studies, or government and need to supplement your curriculum with reading activities.