Tuesday, September 11, 2018

War Zones Zvi A. Sesling

War Zones

 Zvi A. Sesling

 Nixes Mate Books, Allston Mass. 2018

 Reviewer: Ari Appel

            With its tragic accounts of war and its human toll, War Zones by Zvi A. Sesling is an outstanding addition to any bookshelf, especially that of someone interested in war. It is consistent in portraying the uselessness and waste of war, each poem building off of the effect of the last as reading the book leaves one with a progressively darker and darker image of what war means. From loss of life to loss of dignity to loss of limb, Sesling covers a lot of ground for a short book. Some of my favorite lines are “Memories flash back like / an M-16 in the dark jungle,” “Bones in pieces and minds shattered,” and “War is the future,” the last of which is an interesting proposition—the book touches on the theme of war as ongoing several times.

            A poem that really stuck with me describes the tragedy of a fallen soldier who is given a 10-second memorial on a television station but Sesling describes him as follows: “Remembered or not he is already / forgotten by the nation / his moment of glory / he will not hear the cheers / for the returned living.” The idea that a fallen soldier can be so easily forgotten is compelling as we have forgotten so many fallen soldiers. A 10-second memorial on TV does nothing more than pay lip service to an issue that goes on and on in the background of most of our daily lives. The toll of war is real, and Sesling wants his readers to know this in all of its vivid detail.

            What I like about Sesling's book above any of its individual components, which I do admire, is his ability to piece together a work that is so homogeneous in subject matter without ever leaving a feeling of repetitiousness. Every page is a new story with the same underlying theme (war) but constantly builds on rather than repeats what came before. I read poem after poem without ever feeling like I had ever read the same thing twice. Sesling's War Zones is a laudable and well-put-together poetry volume that deserves to be read by all, and should absolutely be read by anyone who has any role in the decision-making process that leads to war.

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