By April Sullivan
As a visual artist, writing is a skill with which I don’t have a lot of experience. Even writing this blog is a stretch for me! Memoir writing is definitely one type of writing that is foreign to me, but maybe I shouldn’t let that deter me. This coming weekend we have writer Brian Turner giving our Veteran program participants a workshop focused on memoir writing.
Turner’s recently published memoir is titled, My Life as a Foreign Country. As the Washington Post wrote, “[Turner] is a writer who is less warrior than observer, someone whose curiosity, knowledge and tenderness allow insight into landscapes and people that terrify the rest of us….Turner shows us soldiers who are invincible and wounded, a nation noble and culpable, and a war by turns necessary and abominable.”
For Brian Turner, the landscape of his writing is war, but the subject is love and loss. And healing. Those are subjects I can relate to, and I am sure others can too.
Besides memoir, Turner is the author of two poetry collections, Here, Bullet which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 PEN Center USA “Best in the West” award, and the 2007 Poets Prize, among others; and Phantom Noise, which was shortlisted for the 2010 T.S. Eliot Prize in Poetry.
Turner served seven years in the US Army, including one year as an infantry team leader in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999-2000, with the 10th Mountain Division. In his poetry and prose, Turner conveys both elegant and devastating portraits of what it means to be a soldier and a human being.
If you are a current or prior military member, we invite you to join us for this workshop on Saturday, May 22nd from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM CDT. It is free and virtual, so you can join from anywhere at no cost. You can choose to just listen, or to interact with the writing prompts. I will see you there!