Shortlisted for the 2010 T.S. Eliot Prize. Brian Turner's first book of poems, "Here, Bullet", was a harrowing, first-hand account of the Iraq War by a soldier-poet. In "Phantom Noise" he pumps up the volume as he faces and tries to deal with the traumatic aftermath of war. Flashbacks explode the daily hell of Baghdad into the streets and malls of peaceful California, at the same time sending Turner's imagination reeling back to Iraq. If he thought he had written all he could of his Iraq experiences in
"Here, Bullet", he was mistaken, for what he saw and felt there affected him so profoundly that more poems had to be written, years later, from a place of apparent safety. Brian Turner writes a powerful poetry of witness, exceptional for its beauty, honesty and skill. Like Keith Douglas's poems from the
North African desert in the Second World War, Turner's testament from the war in Iraq offers unflinchingly accurate description but no moral judgement, leaving the reader to draw any conclusions. Repetitive media reports show little of people's daily experience of the war and occupation. In Phantom Noise, as in Here, Bullet, we see and feel the devastatingly surreal reality of everyday life and death for soldiers and civilians through the eyes of an eloquent writer who served in the US Army for seven years,
with a year's tour of duty in Iraq as an infantry team leader.