Every Seed of the Pomegranate, my book of poems in multiple voices concerning the Iraq war, is out from Tebot Bach: www.tebotbach.org. Here's the press release:
Every Seed of the Pomegranate is a series of poems about the war in Iraq which gives voice not only to the US and Iraqi soldiers caught up in the conflict, but the children, mothers, booksellers, and various civilians who are also affected in both countries. The first section of poems focuses on the build-up to war and the horrors of the war itself, while the second section deals with the occupation, the memories, and the international fallout. Framing these poems are five angels who comment obliquely on the events. Brian Turner, Iraq veteran and author of Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise, says: “Sullivan’s gaze is steeped in compassion for all connected to the combat zone.” These poems inhabit the voices of the dead and the damaged, and sing through the carnage. By taking on the voices of a wide spectrum of Iraqis and US citizens these poems confront the under-reported voices of the war. For example, in one poem an Al Jazeera reporter describes a domestic scene during a bomb campaign:
I could just make out
Hashim’s black nail crescents pinching
and placing them on
outstretched tongues one by one--
ritual that fed
us like a blessing.
I bit the liquid jewel,
sorrows broke open.
Why write such poems? And why read them? The Iraqi poet Adnan Al-Sayegh praises the “visually nuanced and starkly realistic picture of the horrors and futility of war. They are necessary acts.” Be prepared for these lyrics to refract many facets of the war, and cut with truths too painful to be ignored.
...and here's what the poet and vet Brian Turner says on the back cover of the book:
"Through the hard lens of the recent war in Iraq, the poems in David Sullivan’s Every Seed of the Pomegranate span the wide landscapes of history, culture, and mythology. More importantly, Sullivan’s gaze is steeped in compassion for all connected to the combat zone; these finely crafted poems recognize that which is deeply human. During a recent trip to Baghdad I was asked by an Iraqi poet, “When will the artists in America create work in conversation with us?” Every Seed of the Pomegranate is a necessary part of this neglected and difficult conversation. "