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Cover & Interior Design: Olivia Croom Hammerman
Paperback | 114 Pages
May 29, 2020 | ISBN 978-1-936919-81-9
Reviewed in the Hollins Critic by Miranda Davis
"In Forever War, Kate Gaskin’s poems belong to the war wife, always in the liminal state of both husbandless and husbanded, pacing about some proverbial widow’s walk, with all the tenderness of a gardener. However, this narrator is not so static as that: landscapes shift from Alabama to Florida to Nebraska, the Hindu Kush range peppered in via missives and the imagined bird’s eye view from her husband’s plane, while war remains largely the same, just different weapons, different civilian bodies left behind..."
About Kate Gaskin
Forever War (YesYes Books, 2020), winner of the Pamet River Prize, is Kate Gaskin's first book of poems. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Guernica, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, 32 Poems, Alaska Quarterly Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, The Rumpus, and Blackbird, and her work has been anthologized in the 2019 Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is a recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, as well as a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. In 2017 she won The Pinch’s Literary Award in Poetry.
About Forever War
In Kate Gaskin’s compelling debut collection, Forever War, the poet offers readers an intimate view of what a military marriage is not; these are poems that disrupt consoling narratives about life on the home front, deployments and redeployments, reunions, and the soldier’s reentry into the civilian sphere. From our current military campaigns to a striking sequence about Vietnam, Gaskin confronts the seemingly infinite cycle of war in which we seem to have found ourselves, what she calls “the same / Groundhog Day of special ops / humping across dry lands / most Americans could never name.” In these poems, the military spouse articulates the indifference of many Americans civilians—"There are no explosions here,” she says, “only people shrugging / into the cold.”—and voices the grief of knowing that her husband’s “first marriage / is to the sky,” and, worse still, that her own speech must be burdened with “the dumb and bloody language” of war.
—Jehanne Dubrow, author of Stateside and Dots & Dashes