Even in peacetime, many women find themselves isolated in a wartime of their own when their loved ones are involved in conflicts overseas. As mothers or wives they live in a state of separation, from husbands, sons or daughters in permanent danger – or so they feel – as well as from an often alienating everyday world of people who have no idea of what anxieties and fears grip them every minute. They also find themselves switching back and forth between two time zones, between the present moment and what might have been happening several hours ago in the Middle East. Home Front presents the poetry of four such women, Bryony Doran and Isabel Palmer, both mothers of young British soldiers serving in Afghanistan; and two American poets, Jehanne Dubrow, wife of a serving US naval officer deployed to the Persian Gulf and other conflict zones, and Elyse Fenton, wife of a US army medic posted to Iraq. It brings together four full-length collections by these writers; those by the two British poets are debut collections first published in full in this book.
The poems in Bryony Doran’s Bulletproof tell a chronological story, from her son’s unexpected decision to join the army through his tours in and returns from Afghanistan. Covering every emotion from fear to fury, yet lifted by humour and details of everyday domestic life, these are poems written to preserve a pacifist mother’s sanity as each day plays itself out. They show her coping with The News, her fantasies, his short spells of home leave, and her realisation that both are imprisoned in a modern myth.