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Alternative Reconstruction

Reconstruction: it is easy – maybe far too easy – to think about rebuilding Iraq largely in terms of bricks and mortar or governance and elections. But poetry also turns out to be a major force, reconnecting people to an ancient and proud history of literacy and artistry. Writing about the poetry contests he has organized in Rashid, Bagdhad, and elsewhere, USAID officer Joe Dunlop says, “It’s a sense of normalcy, not war and instability – of culture, of things happening, the kinds of spices that make a community worth defending.” Looked at another way, Brian Turner’s book of poems, Here, Bullet, speaks to the place of poetry as a soldier makes sense of conflict in Iraq.

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