‘Hurt Locker’ Soldier-Poet Brian Turner Talks at Brenau March 31

Aug 25, 2011
Rudi Kiefer
Poet and former soldier Brian Turner, whose work provided the title for 2010’s Oscar-winning movie “The Hurt Locker,” will conduct a reading and question and answer session on Thursday, March 31, at the Banks Recital Hall at Brenau University’s John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts. The 1p.m. reading and 4 p.m. Q&A are free and open to the public.

Turner, who earned an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Oregon, before enlisting in the U.S. Army for more stable paychecks and health insurance than he got as a teacher, served seven years – first in Bosnia-Herzegovina and then in Iraq as an infantry team leader in the 3rd Stryker Combat Brigade of the Second Infantry Division.

His first book of poems, Here, Bullet, published shortly after his return from Iraq, won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award and went on to be named a New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection for 2007, and to win the 2007 Poets’ Prize, among others. Turner also was featured in “Operation Homecoming,” a documentary that explores the firsthand accounts of American servicemen and women through their own words. Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning film, “The Hurt Locker,” took its title from one of Turner’s poems, the last lines of which reads “…Open the hurt locker and learn how rough men come hunting for souls.”

Hurt locker Poet Brian Turner
Turner’s raw, gritty, descriptive language sets the tone for his work, but in the words of one reviewer, his apolitical writing lets “the particulars of warfare speak for themselves.” A New York Times reviewer said “The day of the first moon walk, my father’s college literature professor told his class, ‘Someday they’ll send a poet and we’ll find out what it was really like.'” Turner’s second volume, Phantom Noise, published last spring, has been regarded as even more compelling than the first. He was a finalist alongside Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott, for the prestigious T.S. Eliot prize – which in January ultimately went to Nobel laureate Wolcott.

The Brenau reading is part of the university’s participation in the Georgia Poetry Circuit. For more information, call 770-534-6195.


Originally published on 3/29/11