Brian Turner


Brian Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon and lived abroad in South Korea for a year before serving for seven years in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999-2000 with the 10th Mountain Division. Then in November 2003 he was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. His first book, Here, Bullet, chronicles his time in Iraq. Turner has been featured on National Public Radio, the Newshour with Jim Lehrer and the BBC. He has received a NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship and a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. Turner has taught English at Fresno City College. Source

How Bright It Is

April. And the air dry

As the shoulders of a water buffalo.


Grasshoppers scratch at the dirt,

rub their wings with thin legs

flaring out in front of the soldiers

in low arcing flights, wings a blur.


The soldiers don’t notice anymore,

seeing only the wreckage of the streets,

bodies draped with sheets, and the sun,

how bright it is, how hard and flat and white.


It will take many nails from the coffinmakers

to shut out this light, which reflects off everything:

the calloused feet of the dead, their bony hands, 

their pale foreheads so cold, brilliant in the sun.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Violence & War

Literary Devices:


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”