According to a recent Rain Taxi review, in which Hugh Martin is likened to Brian Turner (Here, Bullet), "The Stick Soldiers deserves a wide audience. It has much to tell us about the cost of war on our veterans." Reviewer John Bradley notes Martin's ability to speak to his audience with weight. "'They lip-sync / through cigarettes, blow breaths of smoke at the sky, / hold their loaded Kalishnikovs / against their bodies, a hand on the butt, / a hand on the muzzle, and their feet shuffle, / their heads roll in slow circles; / they follow the rifle's lead.' This cinematic scene of Iraqi police dancing with their weapons from the poem 'After Curfew' shows Hugh Martin's ability to isolate a moment with small gestures. So serene is the scene that it takes a minute for that last line, with its deadly implication, to sink in ... Martin knows that small moments have the power to speak of much larger issues." Martin's collection not only deals with his deployment to Iraq, but also the struggles of returning home to Ohio. "Like Brian Turner in Phantom Noise, Martin proves adept at evoking the homefront as well as the battlefield. In 'Nostos: Quinn's Bar, Cleveland Heights,' a poem in nineteen sections, we learn how difficult it is to come home ... In a bar with friends, Martins notes "Some of their smiles / are so large, it's like there was never / a war to begin with." Click here for access to the latest issue of Rain Taxi. To purchase your own copy of The Stick Soldiers, visit the BOA Bookstore.
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