Hugh Martin is originally from northeast Ohio and he spent six years in the Army National Guard and eleven months in Iraq. His chapbook, So, How Was The War? (Kent State UP, 2010) was published by the Wick Poetry Center and his full-length collection, The Stick Soldiers, will be available through BOA Editions in March 2013. He is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, the winner of the 11th annual A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions, Ltd., and the winner of the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award from The Iowa Review. His poems have appeared in journals such as The Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, and The New Republic. Martin graduated from Muskingum University and has an MFA from Arizona State. Currently he is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and lives in Oakland, California.
Excited to be reading this summer at the Chautauqua Institution's conference in July. They chose my book as a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) selection for the first week of July under the theme: "The Next Greatest Generation." I'll be reading July 4, 2013, at the Hall of Philosophy at the Institution.
Thanks to my friend, Jacques Rancourt, for taking the time to interview me about the new book. If you're a soldier or former-soldier, do you have thoughts on this unwritten "rule" I speak of? I know upon returning home, what you did over there and how much you left the wire mattered a lot; it was not something you embellished or exaggerated at all. This translated to my writing and overall, I shy away from writing about any experience in Iraq that I wasn't directly involved in. In the future, maybe I will write about Fallujah or Abu Ghraib...
James Dao at The New York Times asked me to write a short reflection about what I was doing ten years ago as we invaded Iraq. Like many people, I wasn't doing anything interesting, though, a year later, I would go to Iraq myself. If, like me, you've been following major media outlets this week, there has been an oversaturation of soldiers and veterans reflecting on where they were ten years ago as the war began. We should be aware that the Iraqi perspective is lacking, as it always has been, in most of our media and culture. In short, Americans watched it on TV and Iraqis sat in their homes without power as bombs dropped near their homes, and in many cases, on their homes. I've been reading Anthony Shadid's Night Draws Near which intimately discusses the lives of many Iraqis as the war began in Iraq in 2003. It is a wonderful book that very much looks at the war from the Iraqi perspective.
Anyway, you can read my article here (it delves into reasons why war was desirable to a 19 year-old like me, though mostly it is just a simple reflection on what I was doing as we invaded. I hope at least the many essays and articles like these begin more dialogue and thought concerning the wars).