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Unread 02-17-2003, 08:59 AM
Richard Wakefield Richard Wakefield is offline
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Federal Way, Washington, USA
Posts: 1,664

In 1965 or '66 my brother, stationed at Travis, had the job of unloading coffins coming back from the war (and stacking them by rank, if I remember correctly, but that's another issue). What was striking was the anonymity of those containers, the uniformity. What is striking about this sequence is the specificity: real people. Most of the time even when a "war" poem is about an individual, the poem comes closer to hagiography than to honest portrayal. Not these. To me, seeing real people evoked so deftly (or, maybe, a real person's recollection of them) carries more weight than any abstraction could. Each character's connection with war is unique, as is each demise... And that image of dust!

[This message has been edited by Richard Wakefield (edited February 17, 2003).]
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