This is the first review of Behind the Lines, by Michael True, in PEACEWORK Magazine, affiliated with the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers).
True wrote an influential book, An Energy Field More Intense Than War: The Nonviolent Tradition and American Literature--which was an early touchstone for my understanding of how poetry and writing might contribute to the cultural work of peacemaking.
In a way, that book's generous breadth--one of its great strengths--turned out to offer a lot of avenues of further inquiry. We differ, for example, on what constitutes "anti-war rhetoric." For True, Levertov, for example, is the model of a successful poet who melds peace activism and poetry; for me, I see her as both enormously important from a cultural point of view, but whose poetry was deeply problematic and divisive in all sorts of ways.
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