An Iraq War veteran, Brian Turner’s work reflects his experiences in the Middle East. His most recent book My Life as a Foreign Country (2014), a creative memoir of his war experience, blends his musings and imagination to create a stunning character which engages readers, both with a military background and without. His other works include two books: Phantom Noise (2010) and Here, Bullet (2005) and screen time in Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience (2007) a documentary by director Richard Robbins. He currently serves as the Director of the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.
On April 30, 2015 Turner was the grand finale of a week long event held at Grossmont Community College in El Cajon, Ca. It was the 19th Annual Literary Arts Festival, which features a well known author at the end of it’s week long festivities. In years prior, attendees were authors such as Cormac McCarthy (The Road) and Tim O’Brien (The Things They Carried). Turner’s attendance of the festival created buzz among the students of Grossmont College, due to the high level of former military students at the college. Turner’s first book of poem’s Here, Bullet gained him widespread attention, with it’s performance art feel to it, and creates a very powerful read.
During the reading, the audience learned a little about Turner as he read. We learned the depth and how close he himself is to his poems. They came from the heart and it’s very evident when he reads them allowed, that they ring with truth and memories that many soldiers carry with them once they come home from war.
Personally I was extremely moved by this reading. I have close ties to the military and I honor all who serve our country and put their lives on the line. Turner’s words resounded in my heart and in the hearts of many others in the room as he read his work and spoke of his experience. It was an experience I will not forget, one that was beautiful and quite impressive.