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Welcome to the SuckNarrating the American Soldier's Experience in Iraq$
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Stacey Peebles

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449468

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449468.001.0001

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Consuming the Other

Consuming the Other

Blinding Absence in The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell and Here, Bullet

(p.101) 3 Consuming the Other
Welcome to the Suck

Stacey Peebles

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes two different accounts of the Iraq War, as told by John Crawford in The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell (2005) and Brian Turner in his poetry collection Here, Bullet (2005). In these two works, the authors narrate their encounters with peoples and landscapes that were overwhelmingly foreign. Crawford and Turner, however, frame those encounters in very different ways. Crawford is raw and unapologetically racist, as he takes pains to define himself against the grubby, less-than-human Iraqis who are so easily dismissed from his consciousness and his story. Turner, on the other hand, is fascinated with Iraqi culture and history, and makes an obvious effort to “earn his right to speak” about such matters, as he puts it in his opening poem. Turner’s desire to reach across the cultural and political divide is all the more striking when set against Crawford’s reactionary denial. But as different as they are, each writer struggles with the power of language to convey the act of consumption—the obliteration of a home, a nation, a life, or many lives.

Keywords:   poetry, poems, Iraq War, John Crawford, Brian Turner

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