“Every poet,” warns journalist and poet Randy Brown, “has a heart filled / with shrapnel.”SO FRAG & SO BOLD, the former U.S. Army “brigade staff jester” takes aim at endless wars, parent traps, social media, and stodgy religious beliefs. It’s an iconoclastic cluster-munition that’s bursting with more hundreds of haiku, aphorisms, philosophical puzzles, and other experiments in pithy and pulpy poetry.
Brown’s careful constructions of line-breaks and language are intended to variously provoke chuckles, empathy, and thought. “Any poem is a device,” he writes, “improvised to explode with meaning [...] ignited by a trigger / word.”
In addition to other accolades, Brown is a three-time poetry finalist in the Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Awards, administered annually by the Chicago-based literary journal Line of Advance. His debut collection, Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire, was awarded a 2016 gold medal distinction from the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA).
In May-June 2011, Brown embedded as a civilian journalist with the Iowa Army National Guard’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry “Red Bull” Division. He subsequently collated and helped publish Reporting for Duty: Citizen-Soldier Journalism from the Afghan Surge, 2010-2011, an unabridged 668-page chronicle of that deployment. (Click here for short promotional video of the book.)
His poetry and non-fiction have appeared widely in print and on-line. As “Charlie Sherpa,” he blogs about modern war poetry at www.fobhaiku.com, and about writing on military themes at www.aimingcircle.org.
Starting Nov. 1, 2021:
SO FRAG & SO BOLD: Short Poems, Aphorisms & Other Wartime Fun (84 pages, Middle West Press LLC) is available in a $9.99 trade paperback edition through Amazon and other booksellers, as well as a $2.99 Kindle e-book edition exclusively via Amazon.
Middle West Press LLC (www.middlewestpress.com) is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, journalism, and poetry. As an independent micro-press, we publish one to four titles annually. Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest.
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