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Poet-Soldier Turner Praises New Voices

Blue Flower Arts
Brian Turner, poet and memoirist

Memoirist, poet and Iraq War veteran Brian Turner spoke last week at Florida Gulf Coast University about how writing has always helped him make sense of his experiences, even in a war zone.

As a teacher (at Sierra Nevada University, where he heads up the Poetry MFA department), he said he's optimistic about the new voices he hears in younger poets.

"We live in an amazing time right now," he said. "I think this is the largest wave of poets we have coming up. Most are in their 20s and 30s. They’re not writing the same poems. Their voices are rising to the challenge."

Turner encourages people who may not have been drawn to poetry in the past to give it another try.

"If you’ve never been able to stand poetry, think it’s just not your thing, that may be the case," he said. "But it may be that you just haven’t come across the poem or the poet that would be useful for you. Or maybe  it’s your pen that needs to be picked up, so you write a poem the way you think it should be written."

Turner, who lives in Orlando, will be back in southwest Florida for the Sanibel Writers Conference in November.