Books & Recordings

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“As much nouveau roman as a war novel, Thom Brucie’s Weapons of Cain invites memory  to take a seat at the table of the long twentieth century—and then feast from the ambiguous trough of personal narrative. Weapons is both a tale and a novel, unpacking the rough intertwine of personal and historical memory in order to dissolve the membranes of official American culture. O’Brien pushed beyond Hemingway, and Brucie pushes beyond O’Brien. This is the book as ambiguous weapon: fragmented chapters fly against shrapnel shards of ironic fortifications. This is Vietnam 2.0: the war novel you’ve never before read.”
     –Davis Schneiderman, multimedia artist and writer; works include Drain, Blank, Multifesto: A Henri d’Mescan Remix, and The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and  Collaboration in Surrealism’s Parlor Game.

“Thom Brucie is a real American talent with a smoking American voice.  His writing is true, potent, and muscular.  Read his book, Weapons of Cain, now – thank me later.”
          –Luis Alberto Urrea, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame.  The critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 13 books, including The Devil’s Highway, The Hummingbird’s Daughter, and his award-winning novel, Into the Beautiful North.

View the book trailer:  Weapons of Cain           

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“The poems i
n Moments Around The Campfire With A Vietnam Vet  flow with an incredible narrative voice spoken from the recollected perspective of a ghost poet with a precise eye for detail, a poet who carries you along the beautiful waterfall of misery with your eyes wide open and your heart in your throat. Each poem commands the page, daring the reader to deny its verity and weight, forbidding the reader to dismiss the small totals of Vietnam we still don’t speak about. Wow. These poems took my breath away.”
       –Lana Maht Wiggins, University of Louisiana; author of Notes From Refuge, Felix Voorhies Award Winner.

“Moments Around The Campfire With A Vietnam Vet is full of poignant poems about various characters who fought in the Vietnam War. Thom Brucie’s style is direct, his images clear and specific, and the poems often end on a sardonic or ironic note. He makes us feel as though we were actually invited into the camp circle to hear the stories of these people, to know their longings and aspirations and disappointments. This is one of the best books of war poems I’ve ever read. I promise, you won’t be able to put it down.”
              –Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Binghamton University; American Book Award winner for All That Lies Between Us.

View the book trailer:  Moments Around The Campfire                   

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Read the author’s Interview 

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Still Water Front Cover (new)166x250
“These extrao
rdinarily moving stories explore the intricacies of human suffering and joy. Thom Brucie writes with rare power and insight; his lyrical descriptions echo in the heart and mind of the reader.”
       –Libby Tucker, author of Campus Legends, Haunted Halls, and Children’s Folklore: A Handbook.

“Brucie tells the stories of ordinary people caught in the struggles of those small heroic moments we all must face when action demands courage and courage demands faith.”
       –International Journal of Existential Literature

 

View the book trailer:  Still Waters                   

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Apprentice Lessons (163x250)“Part elegy and part extended ars poetica, Thom Brucie’s Apprentice Lessons participates in that ongoing dialogue between poetry and the world around it, between words and the spaces they inhabit. For example, in the poem “Legacy,” Brucie wonders (and fears) “for those who sleep / under the roofs I built.” Will they be dry and, by extension, safe?Carpentry, in other words, assumes a much broader metaphorical resonance, ushering us back to the very origins of the word poet—one who makes.”
           –Chad Davidson, author of From The Fire Hills, The Last Predicta, and Consolation Miracle

“Poetry at its root is to make. So poets, like all craftsmen, have traditionally learned their trade in the workshop of a master. Thom Brucie’s Apprentice Lessons returns us to these origins in an arresting series of elegies and lyric tributes to Virgil McLynn, the master carpenter to whom he apprenticed in his youth. Brucie finds, in the recollections of his teacher, lessons that serve him as a builder of words, as well as of wood, in poems that underscore the humanity of any trade well plied. He learns “you cannot straighten a bent nail/with one swing; / you correct one flaw and / move to the next,” an image, like so many here, suggestive of how to remedy a life and revise the art we hope to make of it. Brucie succeeds in Apprentice Lessons with accomplished poetic craft and the lived clarity that “the aim of the eye is truth… / and caution reminds us / that we do not always stand plumb.”
                 –Jim Tolan, author of Mass of the Forgotten and Red Walls

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Read the Author’s  Interview Bio – On Writing

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This partial review is for:  Battle Runes: Writings on War
By Omer Hadžiselimović

 

The short stories and poems in this anthology are an important contribution to literature about war. Viewed from many perspectives and points in time—as an overwhelming presence, memory, and presentiment—war in these texts casts a dark shadow over human life, pushing all other concerns aside and twisting the reality of peacetime out of recognition. By presenting how things are, they also seem to tell us—as literature does when at its best—that that is not how things should be. For the soldier in Thom Brucie’s story “A Deepening Heart,” saving a mule’s life becomes an act of love and redemption amid the senseless killing in the Civil War. In Marko Vešović’s poem “A Deathless Moment,” two beautiful girls running across a street to avoid sniper fire in the besieged Sarajevo display a delightful, life-affirming rage at the sharpshooters. Starved and numb to everything after what he has experienced on the Eastern Front on the eve of Germany’s final defeat, a German soldier seeks a measure of human warmth in the embrace of an old woman (John Guzlowski “The German”). These and other moments, in addition to its other qualities, make this anthology well worth reading and remembering.

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The New Short Fiction Series, Los Angeles’ longest running spoken word series, in cooperation with MilSpeak Foundation and Barnes & Noble The Grove, hosted the anthology launch of WAR STORIES, an eBook collection of stories about military life. The performance stars included spoken-word artist, Sally Shore, and a guest cast of Kyle Jones (Law and Order), Joe McGovern (Private Practice) and Brian Norris (Longmire, Castle).

These stories touch upon many aspects of military life including: hard combat; losing a comrade; making love after being blown up by a mortar; honoring war dead; and surrendering to a medical system that never understands its military patients and yet is designed to serve only them. This anthology is loaded with the imaginative powers of veterans from every era of war since the Korean War. With selections from 27 authors, complemented with art by veteran Robert Wilson, this collection is packed with insights of military life for those who have never experienced it. Edited by MilSpeak Foundation director, Sally Drumm, and The New Short Fiction Series director, Sally Shore.

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