20 July 2016

Video Presents 'Night Vision' Poem in New Light

video
Inspired by the March 2011 air-assault "Operation Bull Whip," conducted in Eastern Afghanistan by the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (2-34th BCT), the poem "Night Vision" first appeared in Waterwood Press' 2015 war-themed anthology "No, Achilles." The editors even offered a brief analysis of the work in that book's introduction.

The poem is reprinted in my 2015 print and e-book anthology "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire," from Middle West Press. And it appears on-line at Poets and War, where Stephen Sossaman writes, in part:
I know of no other poem from the war in Afghanistan as likely to be canonized in future high school curricula: the poem is accessible, apolitical, spoken from the point of view of an American soldier—and it illuminates what might be the central fact of the long American military operation in Afghanistan.

This poem quietly shows the unreconcilable clash of cultures, languages, and levels of technology that have frustrated American military efforts in Afghanistan for 15 years.

Sophisticated technology (night vision goggles) gives Americans enough illumination to see the land immediately beneath the helicopter ramp, something the Afghans without that gear cannot see. But any American confidence that they can see the future of the war, or see and understand Afghan circumstances on the ground, is illusory. [...]
In a recent artistic exercise, I combined an audio narration of "Night Vision" with U.S. Army-released photographs of Operation Bull Whip. I hope the resulting 75-second video will provide another way for others to discover and access the work. I've been further experimenting with how the video translates to various social media and on-line channels (such as this blog).

Perhaps I could also challenge other war-poetry practitioners to attempt multi-media projects this summer?

In the meantime, check "Night Vision" out, embedded above in this blog post! See what you think! And, like the Red Bull says, "Attack! Attack! Attack!"

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