Two War Poems by Hugh Martin

In his Willow Springs profile, Hugh Martin says, “Like most of my work, these poems are triggered from my experiences in Iraq…” where he was deployed as part of the Army National Guard in 2004. “Some of my goals when writing involve exploring those aspects of war outside of actual fighting, attacks—all those things that come to mind when thinking of typical stories of war.” Such is the case in Martin’s “Friday Night, FOB Cobra,” his first of two poems published in Willow Springs 67.

Of the second, “Observation Post,” Martin says, “I wanted to capture the death of an interpreter through the eyes of two men on guard duty (one of the most boring, but necessary tasks for any soldier in any war), based loosely on the death of one of our best interpreters, who lived in town and whose sons worked at our base.” Though he recalls how the interpreter’s death “was devastating for us and many of the locals,” and the poem captures the immediate horror of the event, Martin says the piece underwent “at least ten heavy revisions,” playing with form and stanza placement.
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