Normal War

Normal War by Gwenn A. Nusbaum

Whether actual war (including 9/11), the racism of the Sixties, environmental ravage, or confrontation with the vicissitudes of hunger, passion, and mortality, NORMAL WAR confronts the diurnal battles that challenge both our human vulnerabilities and ingenuity to survive. Gwenn A. Nusbaum observes, “Strained sites even with flashlights, faltering through day’s nakedness.” She crafts her poems with grace, compassion, and a sense of responsibility, while still rendering hope with the stroke of her words.

“In this sunlit, spirited debut chapbook, Gwenn Nusbaum combines her psychoanalyst’s savvy and her poet’s instincts. ‘Love is not orderly,’ she writes, ‘No one its prodigy.’ Her goals as a poet—to be lucid, to be candid, and to adhere to the value of dreams—are achieved again and again as she explores the Normal War that is the condition of our contemporary life. Tensions between feeling and thought, inhibition and desire, romantic attachment and the solo journey find illumination through her lens. Of our conflicts, she makes an art.”

— Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work At 72


The world is doing

what it’s supposed to.

Monday breaks open.

War-torn seems normal,

drivers whizzing past road-

kill. Chilly for flies.

Fog at half-mast seizing

the meadow, the sun—

a bloody ribbon—

looping through autumn

maple ablaze. Geese

in V-shaped progression,