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University of Iowa News Release


May 23, 2007

'Behind The Lines' From UI Press Surveys American War-Resistance Poetry

Philip Metres' "Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront since 1941," a new title from the University of Iowa Press that investigates the American tradition of war-resistance poetry, is now available.

In addition to being available from bookstores and online retailers, "Behind the Lines" is available directly from the UI Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at In the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa, contact Eurospan, 3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8LU, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 1767 604972, or online at

"Behind the Lines" investigates American war-resistance poetry from the Second World War through the Iraq wars. Rather than simply chronicling the genre, Metres argues that this poetry gets to the heart of who is authorized to speak about war and how it can be represented. As such, he explores a largely neglected area of scholarship -- the poet's relationship to dissenting political movements and the nation.

Metres examines the ways in which war resistance is registered not only in terms of its content but also at the level of the lyric. He proposes that protest poetry constitutes a subgenre that, by virtue of its preoccupation with politics, history and trauma, probes the limits of American lyric poetry.

Michael Davidson of the University of California, San Diego, wrote, "Metres offers a strong riposte to cultural critics who dismiss poetry as monologic and ahistorical; it shows the abiding critical function of the genre by poets who have not only thematized the horrors of war but participated actively in its opposition.

"At a moment when narrative has become the generic default for cultural criticism, 'Behind the Lines' restores poetry to its important function as a socially symbolic form."

Metres is an assistant professor in the department of English at John Carroll University, a Jesuit institution in Cleveland. He holds a bachelor's degree in English and peace studies from Holy Cross, and a doctorate in English and a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from Indiana University.

He is the author of two chapbooks, "Instants" and "Primer for Non-Native Speakers," and two books of poetry in translation. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in creative writing and translation.

"Behind the Lines" is part of the UI Press Contemporary North American Poetry Series, edited by Alan Golding, Lynn Keller and UI faculty member Adalaide Morris.

This series documents, analyzes and seeks to sustain the many exciting and diverse developments in North American poetry since the 1950s by publishing critical studies of recent poetry, collections of essays on poetics and biographies of individual poets or groups of poets, as well as correspondence and memoirs.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073; cell: 310-430-1013;

PHOTOS are available at