The Orion

Soldier poet delivers powerful poetry

Michael Quiring

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Brian Turner, Iraq veteran, poet and author of two poetry collection books, presents his inspiring collection of literature Tuesday night inside Rowland-Taylor Hall. Photo credit: Annie Paige


Many in attendance spoke with one another as they patiently waited for the start of a night that was soon filled with intricate and thought-provoking poetry.

Brian Turner, Iraq veteran, poet and author of two poetry collection books, presented his inspiring collection of literature Tuesday night inside Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall.

Turner opened the night with a brief background of his life before presenting his work. He served in the military as an infantry team leader sergeant during the early 2000s in Iraq.

Turner also made a note of the fact that many of his poems stemmed from the numerous experiences he recorded in a personal journal during his service overseas.

The veteran-poet read his first poem of the night, titled “2000 lbs.,” which took place in a marketplace in Mosul, Iraq.

Turner used a great amount of imagery through his poetry that allowed him to properly deliver a hectic war scene to many in the audience that may have not had that same experience.

With details of metal shrapnel flying everywhere, phone lines crackling and the explosion of eardrums from sonic booms, Turner delivered an impactful message to his listeners.

After his reading of “2000 lbs.,” Brian lightened up the moment by jokingly asking the crowd, “Now what the f*** did that mean?”

The crowd replied with laughter.

He mentioned the importance of that specific poem and how he had placed it in a zip-close bag he carried in his pocket so that wherever he traveled, he could read it whenever a moment was dull during service.

Another poem Turner read aloud, which was very thought provoking, was based on the actions of soldiers infiltrating a home.

Descriptions of raiding, people being tied up and a conclusion of the soldiers telling children inside the home that all is well was a very powerful image. After he read this, again he asked the audience for the meaning but extended his question by also asking if people in current society even think to ask themselves these types of questions.

Besides the powerful poetry throughout the night, Turner brought up a few controversial topics through his ideas from writing and decided to expand on them for a brief time.

The most notable was regarding the use of Guantanamo Bay and if it was right to allow people to be imprisoned off of U.S. soil without proper trail because they are not American citizens.

Tuesday night seemed like a success for veteran-poet Brian Turner. A large number of people showed up, about half the seats inside the hall were filled, and many were also in line to have a Q & A session with him after the presentation.

Anna Marie, a senior health science major, said Turner’s poems caught her interest and made for an enjoyable night.

He had a very good sense of humor for the topic he was presenting,” Marie said.

Michael Quiring can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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Soldier poet delivers powerful poetry