Wartime Anthology

These unforgettable pieces ask us to confront war, to acknowledge all that is destroyed by it. Chris Abani, who was imprisoned three times by the Nigerian government, makes us understand, in a frightening yet tender poem, that he has indeed “seen too much.” Ellen Bass pierces the heart with her ode to all the children lost in the Gaza conflict: “It could be me / there with a dead baby.” In a quieter mode, Benjamin Alire Sáenz writes of communing with trees as a way of coping with sorrow. Olga Zilberbourg, a Russian native, expresses her grief over the Ukraine war while detailing the terror of living in an oppressive regime.

At a time when the world is roiled by conflict, we need works like these more than ever. We need to keep reading them.