Friday, November 16, 2018

New Work Asks 3 Questions about War

The author of "Welcome to FOB Haiku" has new work appearing in Collateral Journal Issue No. 3.1. The on-line journal—which twice annually publishes a mix of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and art—"draws attention to the impact of violent conflict and military service by exploring the perspectives of those whose lives are indirectly touched by them."

Randy Brown's "tell me how this ends" is a short and simple poem, consisting of three questions. An accompanying biographical statement notes, "Many of [Brown's] recent poems, including this one, involve interrogating war and conflict as a parent of young teenagers. The phrase 'tell me how this ends' was popularized as a 2003 quote by then-U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Patreaus regarding the Iraq War."

Other poets featured in Collateral Journal include: Jason Arment, Yvonne, L. Burton Brender, Holly Day, James Deitz, Thad DeVassie, Erica Goss, Faith Esperanza Harron, Sarah McCann, and John Sibley Williams.

Essayists Janet Gool and Catherine Elizabeth Puckett contribute non-fiction. John Petelle, David Gambino, and Donna Maccherone contribute short stories.

Graphics featured in Issue 3.1 are by Iranian artist Reza Baharvand, who also participates in a Q&A interview. "At first, I find an image of war, usually recent wars in the Middle East, from TV or the Internet," he says of his process. "It is important for me to paint war images completely, in detail, to emphasize that the images are existing in reality. I paint it realistically in large size, then scratch and destroy it. I scratch them in order to show how we ignore the truth. In the foreground, there are objects painted in glitter. They are objects from everyday life, but they are shiny and deceptive. The main issue is in the background."

Friday, November 9, 2018

Poem is Finalist in 'Proud to Be' Vol. 7

Randy Brown, author of "Welcome to FOB Haiku," has a new poem featured in the forthcoming anthology "Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors."

Published by Southeast Missouri State University Press, and underwritten by the Missouri Humanities Council, it will be the seventh volume for such work. The book is currently available for pre-order.

The 200-page volume features poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photography, and other content by and about U.S. military veterans, service members, and families. The series releases annually in November, to coincide with Veterans Day.

Brown's new poem, "the ground truth," regards the experience of observing media and recovery efforts surrounding Flash Airlines Flight 604, which crashed in January 2004, minutes after taking off from Sharm el Sheikh International Airport. Killed in the crash were 148 civilian passengers and crew. Brown connects the event to the 1985 loss of 248 U.S. soldiers and civilian air crew in Arrow Air Flight 1285 in a crash near Gander, Canada.

Brown's poem begins:
Our desert watch was almost over
when charter Flight 604 banked steep
into the Anubis space
with 148 souls-on-board.
There was no moon.
The Red Sea was dark between
Herb’s Beach and the coming sun. […}
The poem is recognized with an honorable mention in the anthology.

According to press materials, judges included:
[...] Emma Bolden (author of the poetry collections "House Is an Enigma", "medi(t)ations", and "Maleficae"); Seth Wade (BFA University of Dayton, MFA University of Cincinnati); Ron Austin (author of the forthcoming story collection "Avery Colt is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar"); Missy Phegley (director of composition at Southeast Missouri State University); and Philip MacKenzie (MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a PhD from the University of South Dakota).

Monday, October 1, 2018

New Poems at The Wrath-Bearing Tree

Six new poems from the author of "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Stories from Inside the Wire" are published today in the October 2018 issue of The Wrath-Bearing Tree, an on-line journal of culture and politics often written from the perspectives of military family, veterans, and service members.

"I've found my 'writing about war' increasingly regards themes of social erosion as much as veteran reintegration," says poet Randy Brown, "and about navigating social media both as a consumer of information and as a parent."

Under the pseudonym of "Charlie Sherpa," Brown also writes about military culture at the Red Bull Rising blog, and military writing at The Aiming Circle.

The new poems include a soldierly parody of William Carlos Williams' "This is Just to Say," which is the source of many Internet memes. (For more history on the phenomenon, see here and here.)

The poems featured are:
  • victory conditions 
  • three more tanka from Des Moines, Iowa 
  • a future space force marine writes haiku 
  • This is just to Say All Again After … 
  • Most Likely / Most Dangerous Enemy Courses of Action
  • the stand
A former magazine editor and 20-year retired veteran of the Iowa Army National Guard, Brown embedded as civilian media with his former unit in Afghanistan, May-June 2011.


His poetry was also previously featured in The Wrath-Bearing Tree in March 2017.