OUTSIDE THE GREEN ZONE REVIEW: Cleo Creech alerted me this evening that The Pedestal Magazine had published a review of Outside the Green Zone: Poets Respond to the GLBT Cleansing of Iraq. It's quite a good review by James Owens (former editor of Sow's Ear Poetry Review), although he does call into question some of the research and thought some of the poems were cliched. I disagree with that, but I am pleased that he singled out my poem, Fatwa, and Lisa Allender's lovely Iraqi Haiku to rhapsodize over.
Nevertheless, the best poems in Outside the Green Zone transcend any concerns about the documentary material. Lisa Allender’s “Iraqi Haiku" offers a heartbroken moment of pure lyricism, purely human: “Shot, I weep, not for / me, but my girl, twin-body, / twin-soul, love doomed."
On the other hand, this chapbook’s most successful poem is also the one that best manages to torque its language out of cliché and conventional sentiment by bracing its political imagination firmly against a ground of recognizable, lived detail. Rather than venturing into a hard-to-conceive Iraq, the persona of Collin Kelley’s “Fatwa" picks up his partner for a one-night liaison—a Muslim man who may or may not be a terrorist—at a subway station somewhere in America. The political and the personal seem to merge in the merging of the two men, or, even better, the personal may hold out the promise of being a cure for the political.
Wowsers! Read the full review in the latest edition of The Pedestal. And, once again, many thanks to Cleo and all the poets who made this book a success. For more information about the chapbook, visit Cleo's blog.
UPDATE: Cleo told me that only about a dozen copies of the anthology remain. Contact him via the blog link above to get yours. These were handmade and are a limited edition. Profits go to the gay Iraqi exiles living in the UK.