Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 15,000 daily subscribers. Over 6,000 archived posts.

Wayne Karlin: The Lotus Eaters

And so he returned to Ithaca:
walked naked from the sea
and saw his shadow
fall on the white marble

November 11, 2022 · 11 Comments

Kelly Denton-Borhaug: The Intolerable Price You Pay

More than 17 of you veterans take your own lives every day. And you live with all of this, while so much of the rest of the nation fails to muster the will to see you, hear you, or face honestly the American addiction to war.

November 11, 2022 · 8 Comments

Peter Makuck: A Shot in the Dark

Gino Vendetti was nursing a sweaty bottle of Bud.  Four ceiling fans along the bar spread the cigarette smoke and a faint odor of beer.  Always a few guys from the old high school gang were here.  Most had something going.  Not Gino.  It had been almost two years since Viet Nam…

August 12, 2022 · 3 Comments

James Dubinsky: Veterans turned poets can help bridge divides

Today, there are approximately 20.17 million veterans – 7 percent of the U.S. population. That’s more than 20 million stories, along with the stories of their loved ones. Sometimes poetry is the most effective way to capture both the ambiguity and the story.

November 11, 2021 · 1 Comment

Doug Anderson: Monsoon

Up river, the rich
are counting their gold
and hiring armies to protect them.

November 2, 2021 · 1 Comment

W.D. Ehrhart: Afghanistan | Vietnam Redux

The real tragedy in all this is that the United States of America invaded yet another foreign country, imagining that we could bend it to our will and create a “Mini-Me” version of ourselves, and then spent twenty years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of lives ignoring what was obvious from the very outset.

August 20, 2021 · 6 Comments

Alfred W. McCoy: America’s Drug Wars

Fifty Years of Reinforcing Racism

July 7, 2021 · 5 Comments

Richard Levine: Disturbing the Peace

“Do you want to know what war is about?”
Jake asked the talkative one. 
“Don’t say it, Jake,” I said. 

May 31, 2021 · 5 Comments

Michael Simms: American Ash (text and video)

Old warriors rarely
say anything about
people they killed or
horrors they saw

April 24, 2021 · 10 Comments

Richard Levine: One Night in America

The first time I noticed my hands
trembling, I was still a young man,
just returned from a war…

January 19, 2021 · 2 Comments

W. D. Ehrhart: Paul Fussell — A Remembrance

While Fussell wrote on a wide variety of subjects over his long life—ranging from Augustan humanism, Samuel Johnson, and Kingsley Amis to the 2nd Amendment, the Indianapolis 500, and travel in between-the-wars Europe—war, the irony of war, the suffering and lunacy and permanent damage of war, the unfairness of war, lay at the heart of his writing and of his being.

May 31, 2020 · 3 Comments

Barrett Swanson: The Soldier and the Soil

Their prose often stood head and shoulders above the standard freshman drivel, exhibiting a certain rigor of thought and depth of feeling that perhaps comes from having witnessed whole anthologies of trauma—entire villages razed by fire, wide-eyed children draped in gore, wives screaming beside mutilated husbands.

May 31, 2020 · Leave a comment

John Samuel Tieman: Self-portrait with folks in St. Louis

still I recall the rains in the islands
the cold in Mexico and how
I imagined my mother standing
on the porch looking south

February 27, 2020 · 1 Comment

Michael Simms: The end of civilization as we know it

I want to apologize for walking in
When the dog was licking
Your bald head as you lay
On the couch drinking rum
Straight from the bottle…

January 18, 2020 · 25 Comments

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