Flying Over Baghdad with Sylvia Plath (Paperback)

Experiences, Through Poetry, with Poets and Poems in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Paul David Adkins

Lit Riot Press, LLC, 9780997694369, 108pp.

Publication Date: January 11, 2017

List Price: 14.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Poetry as hero, not heroic poetry. Just masterful verse which performs extraordinary work in extraordinary circumstances. No one has, likely, ever uttered the words, "Read Jennifer Kronovet's collection; it will save your life " That is, until today.

Because it has, for me. All the poets introduced here have literally plucked me from flames. I had to make sense of Afghanistan, Iraq, The Surge, our Senate's approval of The Surge, my family's struggles in my absence, and the moral decrepitude of the undertakings of conflict, these ones, and all the ones before.

Years ago, poet Donald Finkel introduced me to the writings of Albert Goldbarth. His piece "Knees/Dura-Europos" made me grasp the overwhelming continuity of war, its timelessness, and how Goldbarth confronted it with lines like, "This is what's happening now," and, "This is what's going to happen." So, the questions is, What is poetry doing about it? Because we know war happened, happens, and will happen again.

Well, if you ask the poets represented in this book, they can truly say, "We are denying it an enclave;" "We have named it what it is;" "We have plowed its fields with salt;" "We have refused to clothe or feed it." There is no need to charge barricades. These poets have denied war the ability to traverse their land, in the time-honored guerilla fashion of refusing an enemy sustenance, support, a base from which to operate and raze surrounding country. While I served in President Bush's wars, their work became a series of safe houses, places I could find sympathy and support.

So now, having departed these wars, reviewing my experiences, I pin these tiny medals on the poets that did a hero's work, pulled me from the fire, fed me bread and wine in the dark, warm corners of their books.