Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Exploring Love and Loss as a Muse with Brian Turner  

Air Dates: April 22-28, 2024 

The poet’s ability to capture meaning with words has long been one of humanity’s great gifts. Brian Turner has that muse and uses poetry to explore enduring questions of love and loss.  

Turner is the author of five collections of poetry “Here, Bullet;” “Phantom Noice;” “The Wild Delight of Wild Things;” “The Dead Peasant’s Handbook” and “The Goodbye World Poem.” He has also authored a memoir, “My Life as a Foreign Country,” and is the editor of “The Kiss” and co-editor of “The Strangest of Theatres” anthologies. Also a musician and songwriter, Turner has written and recorded several albums with The Interplanetary Acoustic Team, including “11 11 (Me Smiling)” and “The Retro Legion’s American Undertow.” His poems and essays have been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, National Geographic, Harper’s, among other fine journals. He was also featured in the documentary film “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience,” which was nominated for an Academy Award. A Guggenheim Fellow, he has received a USA Hillcrest Fellowship in Literature, the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, the Poets’ Prize, and a Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation.  

On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Turner shares several of his notable poems, discussing his inspirations and the stories behind their creations. He begins with “Here, Bullet” describing his experience writing this poem in a warzone: “I carried that poem. I wrote that poem, it was one of the quickest poems I ever wrote. Maybe 12 or 15 minutes, and then I put it in my chest pocket and wore it the rest of the time that I was in country. So, if I were killed, they would’ve found that poem on my body.” Turner goes on to read from “The Goodbye World Poem,” a piece written about his late wife, Ilyse. “We carry the past and house it in our bodies, and so those we love who cross over, the dead, they live within us and how do we live with them? How alive do we keep them within us and how do we stay in conversation with them?” 

“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and Mondays at 2:30 a.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a project of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.