On Philip Metres’s Poetry of War and Reconciliation

Karthik Purushothaman at The Baffler:

For much of his career, Metres has focused on American wars in the Arab world. In Shrapnel Maps, his new collection of poems from Copper Canyon Press, he shifts his terrain to Palestine-Israel. Drawing on disparate sources, including 1948 memorabilia, maps and texts from centuries earlier, and testimonies of refugees, activists, and suicide bombers, Metres orchestrates a grand conversation of voices and perspectives across three nations. The book is broken into ten sections, resembling a binder containing a war correspondent’s notes. At a climactic moment, Metres turns “shrapnel” into a verb, referring to a “shrapneled map.” The phrase evokes the image of metal invading the body politic, calling to mind these lines from the Iraq veteran writer Kevin Powers: as if “war is just us / making little pieces of metal / pass through each other.”

more here.