Starved For Bullets
Pulling readers beyond their comfort zones and into the darkest corners of modern warfare, Sgt. Goodrich asks us to look at unspeakable truths from the battlefield, cultural differences, religion, and the shaky hand that is American politics through unflinching eyes as reality spews from the pages. Fifty mesmerizing poems and prose recount the struggles military members endure when death stares them in the face and what happens when red lines fade into the darkness of the desert. Interwoven with inflexible truths and grotesquely beautiful imagery, these poems will resonate long after the final bullet is spent.
*****FIVE STAR REVIEWS*****
Sgt. Ryan Goodrich is a disabled medically retired veteran of the USMC who after his tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan presents a collection of poems and prose regarding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the aftermath that has left `a collection of scars' he is unafraid to share. At this time he is a successful Information Technology Manager, reflecting his many years as an Aviation Communications Technician while serving in the Marine Corps. Ryan holds a B.A. in English and lives in Oregon.
Ryan joins those of us who have responded to war in poems in different times and has found a substantial manner in which to convey the admixture of responses of challenge, pain, agony, mistrust, and in the end quiet loathing of the concept of war as an answer. His poems speak loudly, in private whispers.
Ryan's painful offerings, hard to swallow but necessary to ingest, as that we look war in the eye, and in doing so better understand the minds and memories of the veterans whose psyches, after war time, are indelibly imprinted. Is Ryan Goodrich a great poet? That depends on definition: if communication this profound touches us then the answer must be `Yes!'
Grady Harp (Amazon Top 100 Reviewer/Hall of Fame)
A couple of years ago, I read The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko. In that review, I discussed the conflict that comes upon a person when they hear a song or see a dance (some performance) that is so moving but not joyous, and at the end you know you should applaud but are just too emotional for such a jubilant outburst. So do you applaud or not?
Although Starved for Bullets did not connect with me on the same depth that The Scar did, it was only because the topic of the latter was nearer my heart. (The Scar dealt with a character with crippling anxiety, which I’ve dealt with, but I’ve never been a soldier, so Starved for Bullets couldn’t resonate on that level.)
Even so, this book was still powerful in what it was.
Now, poetry isn’t usually my thing. So I am not qualified to rate it on anything other than my visceral reaction to it. And that reaction found it amazingly raw. Like our author was bleeding on the pages, because we know this wasn’t someone trying to think what it would be like to live as a deployed soldier but someone that had, and that is always powerful to read. There was a lot of darkness and a lot of anger, but you could understand it.
I found “Superman Ultimatum” to have the imagery and feelings that affected me the most, while “Silent Dark” was the harshest in many ways. (To me, at least.) And I will say, only a mind with a darkly twisted sense of humor, as it were, would come up with “The Night before Death,” but I actually liked that macabre about it.
So like with The Scar, this one must be applauded. It was ragged, rough, and raw to read along with, but the ability to evoke that in the reader is worthy of praise. 5 Fireballs.
Mia Darien (Boom Baby Reviews)
Sixty years ago I did a five year hitch in the Royal Air Force. It was all "cushy" postings, with no bad people ever shooting in my direction. Although I wasn't ever a candidate for war wounds or PTSD, I learned about the fellowship that the military life presents to its members. I was always a reader, preferring novels and plays. Poetry never attracted me much, but what I read was works by Gray, and Brooke, and especially Kipling. One of the most powerful poems I still recall is Kipling's "Gunga Din". I remember it, not because of the words it contained, but because of the sense of the humanity of the soldiers calling to their native water-bearer, and his devoted dedication to them.
I mention all this, because when I received my copy of Ryan Goodrich's book "Starved for Bullets" I thought it was going to be either a novel or a collection of short stories -- possibly laced with the occasional poem. That is not what it is. It is a compact volume of less than 100 pages containing some of the most powerful poetry of the battlefield I have ever seen anywhere. Goodrich gets inside the mind of the active service Marine and presents the emotions and feelings so that you really feel the moments. These are not pretty little "Look at all the flowers" type poems, these rather have the gritty impact of inviting the reader into the front line with the author. The introductory note about the author indicates that he is a "disabled former Marine". Not quite true -- once a Marine, always a Marine -- "semper fi". Whether his disablement is physical, or PTSD, or a combination, isn't shared, and isn't important to know. What IS important to know is that this is some of the most powerful and artistic poetry I have ever read. The poets I knew as a child included Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, Thomas Hardy, and, of course, Rudyard Kipling. All of them have left this earth many years ago, but their poetry lives on. I predict that the poetry in this book will similarly live on long after Ryan Goodrich's time on earth is done.
David H. Birley (Amazon Top Reviewer/Vine Voice)
Ryan Goodrich’s compilation of poems takes us full circle of a soldier’s maturation from becoming a Marine to experiencing the struggles learning to put one’s training to the test on the fields of combat. Such tests of one’s confidence, leadership and courage are shown in such poems as In the Streets of Amman, Watch Out and I Am the Bullet.
But as every soldier does who has to struggle with the perils of combat and deprivation and terror and boredom that soldier’s also begin to query as to what they are doing is all about. In questions posed by a thoughtful soldier would bring out such poems as Goodrich expresses in A Soul’s Regress, Starved for Bullets and The Warrior’s Cry.
Deployment for any soldier brings on strange lands, customs and wonderment as to what the purposes and actions of their deployment was all about. It is as if the soldier who always must obey order and does so but deep down in his mind is forming out their youthful basis of their basis for life one which they will carry for the rest of their lives. Such poems as Broken Haloes, Premeditated Memory and Umbrellas for Sails attest to this maturation of the soldier.
As always soldiers not just from the United States but from all nations will always contemplate the actions of their non-combatant leaders. Those Kings and politicians who bring us into harm’s way are always questioned by the soldier. The author sets this all up in his final set of poems in Part VII titled Politics, Prejudice, and Permanence.
This compilation of poems will attest not only what it is to be a Marine but also on how every soldier whatever the nationality experiences on their grand tours of service.
Richard C. Geschke (Amazon Top Reviewer/Vine Voice)
This is an interesting first self-published book of mostly poetic reminiscences of experiences and events during the service in the US Marines by the author. For readers who are looking to in some way sense the emotional aspects of these dramatic events from the inside these poems and short essays describe as nearly as possible for words to tell those feelings. Not beautiful, not ugly, but human all the way through.
W. Jamison (Amazon Top Reviewer/Vine Voice)
A powerful read...The Soul that is put into this writing is amazing. Thank You, for the gut check.
Very deep, dark and enlightening, the quality is outstanding. It's very hard to believe this is a 1st book.