Kill Class
A poet and anthropologist explores the surprising world of war games in mock Middle Eastern villages in which the U.S. military trains. With deft lyrical attention, these documentary poems reveal the nuanced culture and violence of the war machine--alive and well within these basecamp villages, the American military, and, ultimately, the human heart. Kill Class is based on Nomi Stone's two years of fieldwork in mock Middle Eastern villages at military bases across the United States. The speaker in these poems, an anthropologist, both witnesses and participates in combat training exercises staged at Pineland, a simulated country in the woods of the American South, where actors of Middle Eastern origin are hired to theatricalize war, repetitively pretending to bargain and mourn and die. Kill Class is an arresting ethnography of American military culture, one that allows readers to circle at length through the cloverleaf interchanges where warfare nestles into even the most mundane corners of everyday life."Kill Class is a rare achievement...Stone's language sears through the simulation to the actual war, lighting a long fuse of image and utterance that detonates, finally, in the imagination of what we have become." -Carolyn Forché"Easily one of the most important books of our time. Nomi Stone is a principled poet, rousing the conscience of poetry for a nation asleep through its wars and annihilation of real live human bodies. Her concerns for the world are only matched by her skills as a poet. There is no denial in her lines that this world is worth protecting and that it is entirely up to us, 'Brother, look into my eyes until the act is done.'" -CA Conrad"Nomi Stone has a singular gift for excavating the magnetism between language and the physical bodies it signifies. In her extraordinary collection Kill Class, Stone makes poems out of the hubris and mistrust that make violence a human commodity. And through these moments of violence, she builds poem that are simultaneously archival and creative. She excavates lyrics that meditate on humanity without ever losing sight of the brutal transactions of war and their requisite dehumanizations, subjugations, and traumas. What an unexpected and absorbing book. What a potent treatise on war-making." -Adrian Matejka

Kill Class Details

TitleKill Class
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 1st, 2019
PublisherTupelo Press
ISBN-139781946482198
Rating
GenrePoetry

Kill Class Review

  • Ace Boggess
    January 1, 1970
    Rarest of all are poetry collections that leave me thinking "This would make a good feature film." Nomi Stone's Kill Class had that sort of power. The poems follow the journey of a translator/anthropologist in Iraq conflict zones. They do this with grace and flourish while not shying away from the inevitable sullenness or absurdity of the situations the narrator finds herself in, as with these lines from "Wound Kit":"Nafeesa asks a soldier: "Ha yemut?" [Will he die?]. The soldier can't understan Rarest of all are poetry collections that leave me thinking "This would make a good feature film." Nomi Stone's Kill Class had that sort of power. The poems follow the journey of a translator/anthropologist in Iraq conflict zones. They do this with grace and flourish while not shying away from the inevitable sullenness or absurdity of the situations the narrator finds herself in, as with these lines from "Wound Kit":"Nafeesa asks a soldier: "Ha yemut?" [Will he die?]. The soldier can't understand / thrusts paper and pencil at her.If she writes it down he can look it up. Nafeesa says: "Turid arsihm?" [You want me to drawit?]."Stone never abandons language while musing. Nor does she offer explicit judgments about the things her narrator witnesses. Instead, she capture scene and story with such delicacy that it's difficult to imagine these poems being written any other way. As an example, here a re few lines from "The Door," one of my favorites in the book:"wishing. In Arabic,there is a word that means the cleavingfrom dormancy or sorrowinto first joy.Or, the arrivingmouth of the messenger.It is right on the other side of this wood."A remarkable book. I can't say that I've read one like it. Highly recommended.
    more
  • Greg Bem
    January 1, 1970
    Intriguing. Horrifying. This examination of war games the contemporary USA is equally an examination of language and experience translation through multiple cultures and across many individuals. Stone's writing is crystalline and brutally informative.
    more
  • Nomi
    January 1, 1970
Write a review