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War Images

The uncanny image of green soldiers checking their radio equipment and nightvision goggles was taken by Staff Sgt. Ryan Campbell at Fort Drum, New York on May 18, 2016 and is one of hundreds of pictures offered at any time in an ever changing gallery on the site of the United States Department of Defense (http://www.defense.gov/). It will never be an iconic image in the sense defined and elaborated by several of the articles that follow. There are too many of these photographs and they are chosen for the routine inconsequence of the moments they record. The Department of Defense presents photographs, often of remarkable aesthetic appeal, of heavily equipped soldiers doing peaceful things: sharing food with civilian populations where they are stationed, admiring sunrises and sunsets, repairing things, training, taking selfies in exotic places sometimes with exotic people grinning in the same frame. The weight of the soldier equipment seems more burden than menace in such images that embody the adage of military duty from Roman times: Si vis pacem, para bellum (To make peace prepare for war). The soldier is there and equipped. Peace seems to have arrived. But because it has been chosen for a purpose once by the Department of Defense, and now again, for a further purpose, this picture begins to share some characteristics with more famous photographs discussed in some of these articles.

The manipulation and deployment of photographic images to the point that they move beyond their paper and chemical origins to have a life as icon or memory with healing or wounding power are the subject of this issue of Arts and War of Peace Review. The changes to that process brought about by digital photography are important to several articles as well. This photograph, that probably has never existed on paper, has passed from Sgt. Campbells’s camera that gave it its porthole shape and its deliberate green tinge (easier for the human eye to see with less need for electronic enhancement), to the computers of the Defense department to my computer and now to yours. The activity it represents is peaceful in upstate New York where there is no war. There are no identifiable weapons in the picture. But the activity of perfecting night vision and the communications system that will transmit that vision can be menacing. Here the night imaging has given the soldiers pale green auras making them ghostlike or superhuman: the extent of their power is enhanced by their equipment just as the energy of their bodies seems to flow beyond their uniforms. Will this power make peace or war or bring about peace through war? Is the photograph a celebration of remarkable technology during a short night in May, or is it a threat? In previous issues, Arts of War and Peace has addressed war poetry examining and appreciating poets who by insisting on accurately and honestly recalled details and emotions have created sympathy for pacific causes. The limits of sympathy aroused by poetic depictions of the brutality of war inside the symbolic system of war have also been examined. In this issue we have war images. What could leave a more relentlessly accurate record of details and brutality than images capturing light off specific events? Photographs have been important to undertaking war as intelligence and record-keeping from early on. They have been instrumental in establishing traces of destruction and suffering as a basis for memorials, as a call for revenge or in a parallel to much modern war poetry, as a call for an end to war. They have been used in propaganda of all sorts.

Today it is a common place to say that the digital revolution has increased exponentially both the number of potential war photographers (does any soldier not carry a camera phone?) and the number of outlets, forums or sites for viewing. The contrast with poetry is interesting because iconic photographs, like the handful of well-known images from the Civil Rights era or the war in Vietnam, all credited with political as well as cultural impact, are no longer possible we learn in our articles, because of this proliferation. It is hard to imagine poetry, with comparatively fewer authors and more rarified outlets, suffering the same fate. The ubiquity of images coupled with their emotional appeal requires ever more elaborate explanation and an elaborate literacy to be of use. Sometimes they need digital manipulation by the viewer to reveal what they in fact hide. Like the green aura around the soldiers in the picture above, we sometimes see what was never there. There was comfort even in the harshest clarity of poetry. There is an urgency to learning with and from the new noniconic photosphere

Edited by Mark Meigs, May 2016.

François Brunet
Introduction

Camille Rouquet
Creation and Afterlife of the Iconic Photographs of the Vietnam War

Angeliki Tseti
Photo-textuality, Witnessing, and the Convergence of Trauma Memories in W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz

Wilco Versteeg
War Beyond Photography: Digitally Embellished Imaging and Contemporary Conflicts

Gwennaëlle Cariou
For All the World to See: Memorializing the Images of the Civil Rights Movement

William Gleeson
Enhance, Engage, Reinforce, Connect: Classroom Uses of Civil War Photographs

REVIEWS

Wilco Versteeg
Timely Reflections: War Photography at Tate Modern

Gaël Schmidt-Cléach
Pop Culture for Hire: Mercenaries in the Expendables Series

INTERVIEW

Peter King on Catholic Worker Pacifism
Conducted by Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec

Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec
Note: The Pacifism and Poetics of Dorothy Day

Can Literature and the Arts Be Irenic?

“We go to poetry for one reason, so that we might more fully inhabit our lives and the world in which we live them, and that if we more fully inhabit these things, we might be less apt to destroy both.”  —Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry.

Citation  Arts of War and Peace 1.2. (November 2013)  Can Literature and the Arts Be Irenic?  http://www.awpreview.univ-paris-diderot.fr

Can literature and the arts be irenic?  How are the arts a unique vehicle for promoting peace?  How do they enhance memory?  How do the arts play a role in the formation of public opinion?  What possible effects could they have in policymaking?  How might literature and the arts be a vehicle of resistance to tyranny? While the role of epic poetry has often been to present the heroic grandeur of wars past, providing a type of justification for wars future, some poets have endeavored to depict the horrors of war in such a way that the cost of human suffering penetrates the reader’s consciousness. This issue examines and theorizes the role of literature and the visual arts in search for “positive” peace (the elimination of causes of violence and the avoidance of conflict) and the creation of a peace culture, by drawing attention to the writer or artist’s method and form, circumstantial motivation, use of memory and language as counter-propaganda, as well as reception by the public.

The importance of literary and artistic contributions to the obtaining and preservation of peace has been recognized by awards such as the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize (awarded to Mahmoud Darwish in 2003), and others, often lesser known, such as the Leeds Peace Poetry Award or the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award. Although the connection between the arts and the search for and preservation of peace is instinctively acknowledged, its exact nature is imprecise. This issue opens considerations that should be further explored.

The word “peace” itself may be considered problematic.  Is it merely the absence of war?  Thesaurus and dictionary listings for the noun and adjectival forms of the word include the following synonyms that inspired some of the authors of this issue:  Peace, peaceful, peacefulness, concord, harmony, harmoniousness, friendship, cordiality, amity, amicableness, goodwill, accord, agreement, pacification, conciliation, truce, neutrality, ceasefire, armistice, nonaggression, nonviolence, calm, calmness, tranquility, serenity, restfulness, repose, quiet, quietness, silence, hush, still, stillness, placidity, composure, repose, relaxation, rest, restfulness, serenity, pacific, pacifist, peace-loving, unwarlike, nonviolent, nonaggressive, non-belligerent, non-combative, mild, easygoing, gentle, amiable, amicable, friendly, good-natured,  peacemaking, placid, even-tempered, irenic, dovish, conciliatory, placatory, inoffensive, pacification, peaceful, quiet, restful, serene, tranquil, undisturbed, restful, balmy, harmonious, cordial, friendly, strife-free, peaceable.

The papers offered in Arts of War and Peace 1.2 result in part from a conference held in Caen (November 2010), co-hosted with Claire Bowen, as well as several articles originally planned for a projected issue of LISA e-journal, called “Poetry of War / Poetry for Peace.”  In many ways AWP has grown out of LISA and the encouragements of Renée Dickason, who is deeply thanked for allowing several earlier papers to be printed here.

In addition the issue of Arts of War inaugurates publication of original translations. Poems by the German poet Ernest Stadler are translated into French by Julien Collonges and into English by Richard Sheppard : the expressionist “Awakening,” written in 1913, may now be read as prophetic. For readers of Stadler, other translations exist in French by Philippe Abry, Eugène Guillevic, and Lionel Richard and in English by Michael Hamburger. Closing the issus are new poems by Owen Lowery, some of which suggest memory’s role in building a desire for peace.

Edited by Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec, 8 November 2013.

Michael Rotenberg-Schwartz
The Limits of Gore and Sympathy in Pacific Poetry: Southey and Hunt against an Augustan Tradition_8nov2013

Katharine Peddie
Auden’s Revisions and the Responsibility of the Poet

Cathy Parc
A Poet Laureate’s Front-Line(s): How to Wage a War of Words for Peaceful Purposes

Claire Bowen
War Pictures for Peace: Ernst Friedrich’s War Against War

Agnès Blandeau
The irenic effect of the Middle Ages on wartime England through film: the example of A Canterbury Tale by Powell and Pressburger (1944)

Adrian Grafe
Your sort of poet’s task: Tony Harrison’s ‘A Cold Coming’

Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec
Overlord vs. the Din: Writing Poetry to Promote Peace Now

Mary Kate Azcuy
Louise Glück’s Irenic Poems, “Crater Lake” and “Averno”

Anne Mounic
The Poetic Voice and the Paradox of Plenitude

TRANSLATIONS

Deux poèmes d’Ernst Stadler traduits par Julien Collonges

“The Awakening” translated by Richard Sheppard

NEW WORKS

Poems by Owen Lowery

The Fallen & the Unfallen

The title of this inaugural issue, The Fallen & the Unfallen, is drawn, by way of homage, from Geoffrey Hill’s first collection of poems, For The Unfallen (1959).  The cover illustration is a photograph of the memorial stone for poets of World War I found in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey (unveiled November 11, 1985). The list of names is framed by a quotation from Wilfred Owen, “My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.”

Some of the papers presented in this issue result from workshops held at the University of Caen that examined poetry from First World War poets, and works inspired by them.  While the shift from the poetry of World War I to poetry about the Vietnam War may seem a bit abrupt, in fact it was soldiers’ shell shock that motivated many of Freud’s studies, leading to his theories about trauma during and immediately following World War I. Trauma theories have played a significant role in our perception of the Vietnam War.  Furthermore, it was during the Vietnam War period that war poetry from World War I came into general public appreciation.  Jon Silkin fostered a renewed appreciation of World War I Poetry in Britain, with an influence extending to other English speaking countries, by way of his periodical Stand, which in 2012 celebrated its 60th anniversary.

I would like to thank Rosanna Warren for the candor of her interview, Jon Glover, Stephen Romer and Jeffrey Wainwright for their poetry, and the contributors who have submitted state-of-the-art articles and generously offered reviews for this inaugural issue. My heartfelt thanks is also due to Michael Taugis who provided assistance and editorial footwork.

It is particularly moving for me that the inaugural issue presents work by Thomas Christopher D’Arcy and Dominic Hibberd. The former has written about war poetry and has had the personal experience of being a soldier.  The latter regrettably passed away this past August. Dominic Hibberd was a groundbreaking scholar who ensured that Wilfred Owen and Harold Monro would be of interest to future generations. He was also endowed with a pleasant spirit. It was my privilege to show him a small part of Caen and its University when he attended a workshop there in 2005.

Edited by Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec, March 2013.

Dominic Hibberd
A note on the origins of 1914-1918 ‘‘war poetry’’

Gilles Couderc
The War Requiem: Britten’s Wilfred Owen opera

Marie-Noelle Provost Vallet
Ghosts in Craiglockhart: Sassoon’s textual presence in Pat Barker’s Regeneration

Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec
Resisting the Rhetoric: Memory in the Poetry of Ivor Gurney

Roland Bouyssou
In Parenthesis: A War Liturgy

Thomas Christopher D’Arcy
War Trauma, Recovery Narration, and the Need for Resistance: The Case of D. F. Brown’s Vietnam War Poetry

Jon Glover
Truth, Introspection and Extrospection

ENCYCLOPEDIA

Jean-Michel Panoff
The Biological Targets of Chemical Weapons

REVIEWS

Antoine Capet reviews “The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World” (Tate Britain, 2011)

Monique Lojkine Morelec reviews Antoine Choplin, Le héron de Guernica (2011)

Beatrice Pire reviews Jonathan Franzen, Freedom: A Novel (2010)

Carole Birkan-Berz reviews Geoffrey Hill, Clavics (2011)

INTERVIEW

And about the Mud… Rosanna Warren

NEW WORKS

A poem by Jon Glover

Two poems by Stephen Romer

Two poems by Jeffrey Wainwright