Poet, essayist to present work, speak about experiences

Published 8:23 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2015

From East Carolina University Harriot School of Arts and Sciences


GREENVILLE — ECU’s Contemporary Writers Series presents Veteran poet and essayist Brian Turner, author of Here, Bullet (2005), Phantom Noise (2010), and My Life as a Foreign Country (2014). Turner will read from his work and speak about his experiences in Iraq and about the challenges facing returning veterans at the East Carolina Heart Institute Auditorium on Wednesday evening, March 25th at 7:30 pm. The pre-eminent novelist of the Vietnam War, Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried, wrote this about Turner’s memoir: “My Life as a Foreign Country is brilliant and beautiful. It surely ranks with the best war memoirs I’ve ever encountered — a humane, heartbreaking, and expertly crafted work of literature.”

Turner served as infantry team leader for the 3d Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Iraq (2003-2004). His first book of poetry, Here, Bullet, chronicles his time in Iraq.  Of his poems, Joel Brouwer for The New York Times Book Review observed:  “The day of the first moonwalk, my father’s college literature professor told his class, ‘Someday they’ll send a poet, and we’ll find out what it’s really like.’ Turner has sent back a dispatch from a place arguably more incomprehensible than the moon—the war in Iraq—and deserves our thanks…”

Turner has been featured on National Public Radio, the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and the BBC. He has received a NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, and a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. Turner’s work has been published in Harper’s Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times, and the Voices in Wartime Anthology (2005). Turner was has also been featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience (2007).

A book-signing and question and answer session will follow. This event is free to the public and the ECU community, thanks to Operation Re-Entry North Carolina, Office of Student Transitions, Pirate Veterans, and Office of the Provost.

Turner’s appearance begins a two-day series of workshops for Veterans interested in expressing their experiences through fiction, non-fiction, or visual art, and in contributing to the creation of a new publication – The ECU Veterans Anthology.

For more information about the workshops, please contact: Jason Faulkner faulknerj@ecu.edu; tel. 252-328-5177.