Acceptance, understanding, regret, loneliness, courage, longing, loving, and pride infuse Victoria Kelly’s When the Men Go Off to War. It’s a perfect gift for anyone who knows of or is soon to know of war’s separations and reunions.
But this is more than eye-opening poems from a military wife. It’s also a truly superb first book of poems for anyone—meticulously crafted, highly readable. In a skeptical century, Kelly’s poems break through to tell the quiet and necessary stories too many others recently have neglected. She knows “wars still happen and people still fall in love.” She is unflinching. She worries. She dreads. She praises. She dreams. She never denigrates.
From the first time I found Victoria Kelly’s poems in America’s top literary magazines, I’ve been moved and transformed by her remarkable verse, its flights and landings in wonders. Hers is one of the finest first collections of poems I’ve read in the last decade.