Overview


At age nineteen, Hugh Martin withdrew from college for deployment to Iraq. After training at Fort Bragg, Martin spent 2004 in Iraq as the driver of his platoon sergeant's Humvee. He participated in hundreds of missions including raids, conducting foot patrols, clearing routes for IEDs, disposing of unexploded ordnance, and searching thousands of Iraqi vehicles. These poems recount his time in basic training, his preparation for Iraq, his experience withdrawing from school, and ...

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The Stick Soldiers

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Overview


At age nineteen, Hugh Martin withdrew from college for deployment to Iraq. After training at Fort Bragg, Martin spent 2004 in Iraq as the driver of his platoon sergeant's Humvee. He participated in hundreds of missions including raids, conducting foot patrols, clearing routes for IEDs, disposing of unexploded ordnance, and searching thousands of Iraqi vehicles. These poems recount his time in basic training, his preparation for Iraq, his experience withdrawing from school, and ultimately, the final journey to Iraq and back home to Ohio.

Hugh Martin holds an MFA from Arizona State University. He is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.


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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize winner Martin debuts a collection about loyalty, country, and his return home to Ohio after completing an 11-month deployment in the Middle East. "The air is exhaust smoke, desert heat, the black/ sewage-streams that don't dry." War is unforgettable, and Martin comes out of the desert a soldier's poet.—AP
Publishers Weekly
Martin served with the U.S. Army in Iraq between 2003 and 2005; his solid, sad verse debut chronicles that experience, along with the months before and the years after. Stateside training generates some of his strangest, harshest poems, including a prose anecdote that might describe a murder. Time back at home, in snowy Ohio, prompts alienated, ambivalent regret, comparable at best to Randall Jarrell’s poems on World War II airmen and veterans. Yet the bulk of the book, and its reason for being, involve Martin’s time in Iraq. Sand gets everywhere, IEDs could be anywhere, children are sources at once of pathos and danger, and camaraderie is all-important. “We avoid trash, disturbed soil, animal carcasses./ We arrest men// who dig beside the road./ We hate the ground.” Some pages portray other soldiers, grim, friendly, naive: “Smith, shirtless, curls forty-pound dumbbells,/ part of his plan for home:// a sex life.” Other sentences take on the scenes and the moments of combat: “You aim. Your first shot./ But the truck slows. When you adjust, your foot slips,/ you fall below the edge, unable to see.” Now a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, Martin breaks little new ground in the craft of verse. What he offers instead—along with the very few other Iraq war poets (Brian Turner, for example) noticed so far—are thoughtful recollections, scary memories, articulate reflections, and the resolve of a man who has been there. (May)
From the Publisher

"The Stick Soldiers reveal[s] Iraq in all its real and imagined dangers in a language that is somber, angry, deeply reflective, but also intensely, if not darkly humorous.” The collection is an “approachable, necessary volume of poems about what it was like to prepare for war, serve in Iraq, and return to Ohio ‘a body / much less / without the plated-vest, the ammo.’” -M.K. Sukach, War Literature & the Arts

“The Stick Soldiers is a journey you don’t want to miss. Especially if you care about the soldiers our country sent to war and if you want to help them come home.” -Bookscover2cover

“The Stick Soldiers deserves a wide audience. It has much to tell us about the cost of war on our veterans.” - Rain Taxi

“As America’s withdrawal from Iraq fades amidst more recent events, it becomes even more important to read books like The Stick Soldiers to give voice and image to just what contemporary war constitutes for soldiers like Martin.” --Mark Allen Jenkins, American Microreviews and Interviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781938160073
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 3/15/2013
  • Series: New Poets of America
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 88
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Hugh Martin is a graduate of Muskingum University and completed his MFA at Arizona State in May, 2012. He served six years in the Army National Guard as an M1A1 Tanker and spent 11 months in Iraq. His poetry centers on the narratives that crossed his path as a soldier, with a goal "to make each section vivid and strong enough to give the reader a clear idea of what each soldier is like as a human being."

Martin's work has appeared in CONSEQUENCE Magazine, Mid-American Review, Nashville Review, and is forthcoming in Gargoyle, Third Coast, and the American Poetry Review. His chapbook, So, How Was the War? (Kent State UP, 2010) was published by the Wick Poetry Center, and was selected as part of the 7th Avenue Streetscape Series in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. In the summer of 2011 he taught introductory creative writing classes at the National University of Singapore. He will be a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University in the fall of 2012.
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