When the Men Go Off to War

Poems
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Binding:Hardback
Published:September 15, 2015
By Victoria Kelly (Author)

Collecting the nationally-recognized poems of Victoria Kelly, When the Men Go Off to War captures the hopes, anxieties, and intimacies of the military spouse during a time of war. Written over the course of her husband’s deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, these haunting poems span vast geographical distances and generations, moving between the literal and the fanciful to find community in the midst of isolation. Kelly blends lyric and narrative elements to evoke themes of loneliness and human fragility with keen insight. Collecting the nationally-recognized poems of Victoria Kelly, When the Men Go Off to War captures the hopes, anxieties, and intimacies of the military spouse during a time of war. Written over the course of her husband’s deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, these haunting poems span vast geographical distances and generations, moving between the literal and the fanciful to find community in the midst of isolation. Kelly blends lyric and narrative elements to evoke themes of loneliness and human fragility with keen insight. But ultimately, When the Men Go Off to War is a heartrending ode to enduring romance and the reclamation of a marriage tested by loss and separation.

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Product Details
  • Subject: Poetry
  • Hardback : 96 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (September 15, 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 1612519040
  • ISBN-13: 9781612519043
  • Product Dimensions: 5 X 8 in
  • Shipping Weight: 7.84 oz
Praise
  • When the Men Go Off to War is a poignant collection of poems that personalizes the emotional highs and lows of military family life during times of conflict. Its powerful prose earns its author — who speaks for family members who deal with it on a daily basis — the right to be placed on any book shelf dedicated to war."—San Antonio Express-News
  • “It would be false to say there were not moments of lightness here. But Kelly is skillful; even in the happiness we know it can’t last. We know there will always be another war, another stage of departure, absence, and homecoming. So we appreciate what we are given as readers, as the speaker too appreciates when her worlds collide and rest, if only for a moment. This appreciation is represented perfectly in 'Birth,' as her husband holds their daughter. The three sentence poem ends 'She is only / six weeks old and there are no other / pleasures: everything is ageless here, everything / is here.'"—Coal Hill Review
  • "When the Men Go off to War is full of these sort of evocative passages, at once beautiful and tragic and always real. Navy SEAL veteran and bestselling author Eric Greitens may have put it best when he said, 'We leave [Victoria’s] poems wiser and stronger.'"—WeAreTheMighty.com
  • * When the Men Go Off to War has been chosen as The Poetry Society of Virginia's runner-up for its 1st annual Book Award (2015) ~
  • "This book comes from dirt under the feet experience, a craft that has been honed and pure art. You impoverish yourself if you choose not to read it."—VetsAllTheWayHome.org
  • “Women also go off to war, of course, but the perspective of most of the 47 poems by the wife of a Navy fighter pilot is from the home front: ‘What happens when they leave | is that the houses fold up like paper dolls.’ Her themes of departure, absence and homecoming are universal in place—from Key West to Kandahar—and in meaning: ‘Everyone who has aged out of our lives might still be getting older somewhere else.’ She writes ‘that the same prayers of broken mothers | still float from this fragile earth.’ Plenty of her other graceful lines float, too.”—Military Times
  • “Ms. Kelly has a flair for similes so good that they can enact a poem's closure. She shows that ingenuity and deep feeling are not incompatible. Perhaps best of all is her ability to speak to and sometimes for a community to whom attention must be paid. When the Men Go Off to War is a superb introduction to a poet we'll be hearing a lot from as time goes by.”—David Lehman, editor, The Oxford Book of American Poetry
  • “Victoria Kelly’s When the Men Go Off to War weaves history and present day in a way that goes beyond the military family experience to encompass the joys and aches, the loss and triumphs of all families. Each extraordinary poem remains etched in the brain long after the last page has been turned.”—Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone
  • “With a remarkable generosity of spirit and poignant insight, Victoria Kelly captures the rhythms of everyday life for America's military spouses and families. She takes us, moment by moment, into their worlds, and we leave her poems wiser and stronger.”—Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL, New York Times bestselling author of Resilience
  • “Victoria Kelly’s When the Men Go Off to War is a poet’s tribute to the men and women who suffer not only the trials of war, but the desperation of wartime. . . . A beautifully written book, quiet, spare, and moving.”—Dorianne Laux, author of Facts about the Moon
  • “Victoria Kelly’s When the Men Go Off to War is a perfect gift for anyone familiar with the separations and reunions associated with war. However, this is a truly superb first book of poems for anyone—meticulously crafted, highly readable. From the first time I found Kelly’s poems in America’s top literary magazines, I’ve been moved and transformed by her remarkable verse. Hers is one of the finest first collections of poems I’ve read in the last decade.”—Dick Allen, Connecticut State Poet Laureate, 2010‒15

A graduate of Harvard University, Trinity College Dublin, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Victoria Kelly’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Best American Poetry 2013 and renowned literary journals such as Alaska Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, and Hopkins Review.

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