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Holiday Letter for a Poet Gone to War: Editorial and Poem
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American troops in Iraq quietly observing the
holiday spirit prior to the Iraq War's end.
(Reuters photo by Saad Shalash)

Why do you think certain creative works make such a powerful and lasting impact on a wide range of people? By way of example, consider the very edgy TV drama series Homeland, the current hit movie Lincoln, and Clint Eastwood’s modern film classic Letters from Iwo Jima; or books such as The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and The Diary of Anne Frank. Their sustained impact likely endures because they achieve what the best of the cultural arts generally do–– they step beyond blinders of national restrictions to shine a transcendent light on the universality of the human experience.

Poets, for the most part, define the transcendent essence of their human experience by the industries of their pens and spoken words. Yet in the aftermath of 9/11, many poets from different backgrounds put down their pens and stepped away from their open mics to answer the call to war. It was not a mode of expression most would have preferred.

Exchanging metaphors and meters for bombs and bullets was a difficult thing to do when the Iraq War kicked off in 2003 and it is not particularly easy as the war in Afghanistan drags toward conclusion. In fact, some might even consider such an extreme displacement a form of guerrilla decontextualization forced by historical circumstances rather than manipulative seekers of power. The major difference, however, is the conscious choice of the individual at the time to exercise courage and honor in the face of aggressive horror and terror.

To read the full article and poem please CLICK HERE

by Aberjhani