In 2002, Pulitzer Prize Winner Chris Hedges published War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. He was excoriated for his callous approach to the subject. But when the dust cleared, we were left to ask ourselves if he wasn’t, in fact, right. At the same time, the bulk of humanity live the majority of their days in peace (even if the threat of war always looms). We are constantly between the pincers of these concepts, as guest editor Johnny Baranski notes:
War and Peace — Why the theme of war/peace for this month’s Per Diem poems? Because the issue is forever with us. In my brief 66 years on this planet alone a day hasn’t gone by without some kind of war or conflict going on somewhere in the world. From the Cold war of the Twentieth Century to the Asymmetrical War on Terror of the Twenty-First the same scenes of death and destruction play themselves out. Beyond the battlefield there’s playground and internet bullying, domestic violence, eco war, cyber war. And then there’s the ever-present threat of nuclear weapons. Nobody likes violence and war but it’s an addiction hard to overcome. These poets have something important to say about war and peace. We all best listen to them.
Haiku has occasionally been accused of being incapable of tackling the big issues. Here is yet more proof that belies that claim.