One Hundred Visions of War: The North American Review recommends “an intense read of the entire volume in one sitting”

Ann Spiers’ review of One Hundred Visions of War by Julien Vocance was published over two months ago, but has only recently come to my attention, like a birthday gift from out of the blue. What pleases me most is that her praise for the book includes admiration for the physical object: “In addition to the poems’ strength, Wiseblood Book’s book design facilitates an intense read of the entire volume in one sitting.” Thank you, Ann, not least for giving me yet another opportunity to thank Joshua Hren and his excellent team at Wiseblood.

Avalanche of Good Fortune

The lazy opportunist in me thinks it’s okay to re-purpose an email I just wrote to Joshua Hren and Mary Finnegan at Wiseblood Books as a blog entry. So here goes:

Lots of good things happening in connection with our book. Here are four things to be thankful for, all of which occurred this week.
 
You may remember my telling you that Barbara Loots, whom I met at the West Chester Poetry Conference years ago, was so impressed with Vocance’s poetry that she looked into entering One Hundred Visions of War in the collection of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. She just sent word of her success. Here’s a message from the Vice President of Collections at the museum:

Dear Barbara,
 

Thank you for contacting the National WW I Museum and Memorial. Your offer of a potential donation is very generous, and we are very interested in adding it to our collection. 

As an international resource, the Museum and Memorial has been collecting since 1920 from all 36 nations in the war and our collection now numbers over 350,000 items. Your donation will make a valuable addition to our collection and could potentially be used in exhibitions, research, public programs, and education initiatives. 

Please mail the objects to the address below. Upon receipt, a member of the Collections Department will examine each item and send you a gift agreement letter. Please allow 60 days from the object’s arrival for receipt of letter.  

Thank you again for your donation offer. We are grateful to be the recipient and assure you that we will adhere to the highest professional standards for its care and use.  We greatly appreciate your consideration of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. 

Respectfully, 

Christopher A. Warren, JD, PhD

Vice President of Collections & Senior Curator

National WWI Museum and Memorial

2 Memorial Drive | Kansas City | MO | 64108

theworldwar.org

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Ned Balbo wrote a great recommendation of the book in his omni-bus review in Literary Matters. Here’s the link: https://www.literarymatters.org/15-3-beloved-communities/.  You’ll see that we’re keeping glorious company. Just to read the authors and titles of the other books reviewed is recommendation enough!
 
Then, there’s this weird coincidence. On Thursday Gina and I took our granddaughters to ride their scooters on the rail trail in Newburyport. There a Little Free Library box near on the trail, and I can’t go by one of them without glancing in at its contents. There was an issue of Modern Haiku. I’d never seen an actual hard copy of the magazine, so grabbed it. It turned out to be the most recent issue, and leafing through it I found yet another review of One Hundred Visions of War. This one isn’t nearly as sympathetic. Its author finds fault with my counting syllables and with my not including the french versions; ironically, he then dismisses his complaints as nit-picking, having devoted two-thirds of his review to them, and gives the book his recommendation. It’s a head-scratcher, but the reviewer is none other than Paul Miller, from whom I learned almost everything I know about Vocance. In my intro to the book I give credit to his two essays, available in The Haiku Foundation Digital Library
 
Finally (for now), Tony Tsonchev, editor of the Montréal Review, accepted two of my poems and, noting my most recent publication, asked me to write an essay about Julien Vocance to pair with an essay on Japanese Bushido philosophy that appears in this issue. I told him that all I knew about Vocance I’d learned from Miller’s two essays and Dana’s Preface, and from an intuitive sense of the poet that came to me in the act of translation. To talk about about that third source would bring me perilously close to the Region of BS, so I declined the opportunity. He then asked permission to reprint Dana’s Preface; (having run the idea by you and Dana), I sent him the text and he’s including it in the issue that’ll come out shortly. I’ve already seen the proof. It’s got a big, obvious link to information about One Hundred Visions of War.
 
An amazing little avalanche of good fortune. 

Reading at G.A.R. Memorial Library, West Newbury, MA

Reading by Local Poet Alfred Nicol

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22 6:30—7:30 PM G.A.R. Memorial Library, 490 Main Street, West Newbury, MA, 01985

In honor of the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, local poet, Alfred Nicol will read from his most recent publication, One Hundred Visions of War, a translation of Cent Visions de Guerre by Julien Vocance. These poems, written in 1916 in the trenches of WWI, are among the first haiku written in the west.

Dana Gioia, who served as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts for six years, writes in his preface to the book, “One Hundred Visions of War is a major poetic testament of the Great War. Few works of such audacious originality are so accessible and emotionally engaging. More than a century after its publication, Vocance’s sequence has lost neither its shock value nor its strange tenderness. Alfred Nicol… has restored a lost masterpiece to English-language memory.”

Alfred Nicol’s poems have appeared in Poetry, the New England Review, Dark Horse, Commonweal, The Formalist, The Hopkins Review, Best American Poetry 2018, and many other literary journals and anthologies. Nicol lives in West Newbury, Massachusetts, with his wife, Gina DiGiovanni.

Registration is required for this event. To register, please scroll down the library’s event page here.

“Write Now” — Alfred Nicol, January 2023 TV Schedule

My conversation with Gayle Heney about translating Julien Vocance’s One Hundred Visions of War, written in the trenches of France in 1916, will air for the month of February in Haverhill, MA on Comcast channel 22 on Tuesdays @ 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. and Wed. @ 3:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The program will air in 5 additional markets beginning the week of Feb. 6 – March 11, 2023. They are:

North Andover, MA: Mondays @ 5 pm; Tuesdays @ 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Fridays @ 11 a.m. and Sat. @ 8 p.m. on Comcast channel 22 and Verizon channel 24

Methuen, MA: Tuesdays @ 8:30 p.m. and Wed. @ 9:30 a.m. on Comcast channel 22 and Verizon channel 33

Andover, MA: Mondays @ 8 pm and Tuesdays @ 7 a.m. and Thursdays @ 12 noon on Comcast channel 8 and Verizon channel 47

Lawrence, MA: Wed. @ 7 p.m.; Thurs. @ 11a.m. and 8 p.m. and Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on Verizon channel 40 and Comcast channel 99

Boxford Cable Access TV:  (Boxford, MA) Comcast channel 8 and Verizon channel 45. This station changes its programming weekly, so viewers should check out its link for exact dates/times. 

Gayle has been producing Write Now for over ten years. Previous guests include Andre Dubus, Rhina P. Espaillat, Paul Harding, and Meg Kearney.