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Tag Archives: War Poetry

On “New Life”: An Interview with Dan O’Brien

“My aim has been to look as squarely as I can, with clear eyes, at the truth of what human beings are capable of doing to each other. This is Paul’s aim too. Denial is a killer, and if we all felt the horror that so many are forced to experience I know there would be less violence in the world. This is a conviction I’ve had about life and about my writing long before I met Paul, though in the past I probably spent most of my time concentrating on stories of emotional violence, often of child abuse. It’s all the same. The weak are exploited and abused by the powerful, and silence, obfuscation, denial is a complicity that must be confronted.”

On Service: An Interview with Bruce Lack

To read Service is to learn the rules of engagement, and later, the methods of disengagement, if there can be such a thing. We slip backward and forward in time, one unwitting, vulnerable foot perpetually in enemy territory, one moment searching under the couch for a hair tie and the next moment, “in a hallway I will never be able to describe, I gulp crematorium-hot air and drip sweat onto the flak-jacketed back of my best friend, who will breach the door and survive the next several seconds. When I knee him he moves as if lives depend on it. Lives depend on it.”