Thank you Rhino poetry and Emily Perez for this thoughtful review:
War poetry often speaks from the deployed soldier’s point of view. Hart’s collection presents an essential counterpoint, giving voice to the networks of civilians whose lives are forever altered by the experiences of their loved ones. She reveals the paradox of helplessness and complicity. These are voices on a precipice, voices not-yet in mourning, but already aware of the need to be “like an ocean” ready to “carry [the soldiers’] broken parts.”
Being on this list is pretty wonderful. New York Magazine’s Vulture says some words:
Though the canon abounds with war poets — Homer, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, Walt Whitman — fewer describe the complexities of the home front. Pamela Hart works to correct this by telling the stories, including her own, of the parents, spouses, and children of those who serve. “This isn’t a story of war,” she writes. “This is the mother on the idea of a son at war.
Lindsay Weishar engages with Mothers Over Nangarhar at Ploughshares
Though language cannot encompass the enormity of war’s influence, it can still bring us as close as possible to expressing the inexpressible. This Hart does masterfully through an array of voices, all of whom echo and reecho what it means to survive and communicate war.
"In her debut poetry collection, Hart brings a new, salient voice to our home front in times of war. . . . An artist by training, Hart creates word images that allow us to contemplate private and public pain. Certain lines stand out in these glowing poems: 'Like the Spartan women, we polish / our sons in the concrete firmament.' Or: 'My syntax breaks to lake ice / Who am I to translate the exodus of birds.' . . . [F]inely crafted poems."