"Writing in the tradition of John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields," Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est," and Kevin Powers's "Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting," Benjamin Hertwig's debut collection of poetry, Slow War, is at once an account of contemporary warfare and a personal journey of loss and the search for healing. A century after the First World War, Hertwig presents the personal cost of war in poems such as "In Flanders/Afghanistan," and "Food Habits of Coyotes, as Determined by the Examination of Stomach Contents," and the potential for healing in unlikely places in "A Poem Is Not Guantanamo Bay." This collection provides no easy answers--Hertwig looks at the war in Afghanistan with the unflinching gaze of a soldier and the sustained attention of a poet. In his accounting of warfare, the personal becomes political. While these poems inhabit both experimental and traditional forms, the breakdown of language channels a descent into violence and an ascent into a future that no longer feels.
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