You have in your hands poems of a mournful witness-nearly all evoke a tone of bitterness over the devastation and trauma of endless wars. The book's ironic title is a purposeful oxymoron: "there are no / little wars-no distance / we cannot reduce to nothing." Luther Jett's poetry voices itself in precise diction and nuanced rhythms that grab hold of your attention and do not let go.
-Merrill Leffler, Author of Mark the Music
Compassion-both its presence and its absence-interests W. Luther Jett. His previous collections Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father and Our Situation explored trauma and healing. Little Wars digs for the roots of pain in the twentieth century's geopolitical conflicts, from World War II to Bosnia. The people in these poems go about their daily lives as the bombs fall, trying-and too often failing-to retain their human connection, deepening "the wound we make of breathing." Jett's sorrow pours out in the tones of an Old Testament prophet or catches, choking, in his throat. In this raw-edged, lyrical collection, Jett absolves no one: the fault is " . . . ours, ours, and ours alone, our making / because we refuse to make stars / out of the coals / that burn in our hearts."
-Katherine E. Young, Author of Woman Drinking Absinthe and Day of the Border Guards , Poet Laureate Emerita, Arlington, VA
Little Wars is a moving and deeply disturbing series of poems. From the poppies symbolizing the dead soldiers of World War I to the destruction of the Mostar Bridge in the Bosnian War, Jett recounts "the cities leveled and the fields / upchurned" in war's path. The ubiquity of current combat, ever rumbling, is in these poignant pages too, and the survivors always left "waiting / for the siren's blast, the tramp / of boots along the stairs."
-Kim Roberts, Author of A Literary Guide to Washington, DC
About the Author
W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland and a retired special educator. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, such as The GW Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Potomac Review, and Little Patuxent Review as well as several anthologies. His poetry performance piece, Flying to America, debuted at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father, [Finishing Line Press, 2015], and Our Situation, [Prolific Press, 2018].