Delray Beach, FL – June 11, 2021 — The Palm Beach Poetry Festival presented Brian Turner Live and At Large with the Palm Beach County Schools on Friday, April 23, 2021 at 1:45 pm in a virtual reading, talk and Q&A on YouTube. The Festival has sponsored an annual poet-at-large in the Palm Beach County High Schools as part of the annual week long festival in January. In 2021 during the first virtual festival, Brian Turner gave an extraordinary evening reading, but his in-person readings in the schools were postponed due to the global pandemic.
Brian Turner’s landscape of writing is war but also the subject is love and loss. And healing. Turner is the author of two poetry collections, Here, Bullet, which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 PEN Center USA “Best in the West” award, and the 2007 Poets Prize, among others; and Phantom Noise, which was shortlisted for the 2010 T.S. Eliot Prize in Poetry. His memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country, was listed on Powell’s Best Nonfiction List in 2014. Turner served seven years in the US Army, including one year as an infantry team leader in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. He was also deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999-2000 with the 10th Mountain Division.
In his poetry and prose, Turner conveys both elegant and devastating portraits of what it means to be a soldier and a human being. His most recent publication, as editor, is The Kiss (2018), a diverse anthology of essays, stories, poems, and graphic memoirs. His work has appeared on National Public Radio, the BBC, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Here and Now, and on Weekend America, among others. He is the Director of the Low Residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.
In a 2005 New Yorker column titled “War Poet,” Turner says he wrote his poems in secret because the “backbone of the Army” can’t be hard-nosed if his underlings think he’s “writing about flowers.” Since the publication of Here, Bullet, the open secret is Turner not only mentors war veterans to develop their writing voices, but he also continues to explore and expand the boundaries of writing through different genres and often through poetry and music collaborations with artists around the globe. His most significant partner was his late wife, the poet Ilyse Kusnetz, with whom he added love to the creative mix. Brian Turner, the poet and the person, shows us how bravery and empathy fine tune the human instrument of language.