Quaker UK Book of the Month
There is no doubting the profound intent and varied ambition of this collection. Caught in the withering and implacable gaze of war, Owen refuses to flinch. Like a surgeon intent on the truer cause, he peels away war’s more overt skin to expose, with a disarming unsentimentally, some of the less obvious aspects of conflict’s anatomy.
– Mario Petrucci
Feathers and scalpels, I thought, reading this collection on the train between Lancashire meetings about banning nuclear weapons and blocking London roads with Extinction Rebellion. They caress, raising Goosebumps on my skin. And they cut, so sharp and swift and fine, I suddenly found my heart was bleeding. Immersed in them from Nagasaki to Bergen-Belsen, and Palestine to Yemen, I was cut with the brutality and greed of war, and caressed by the humanity that continues to love and resist. I looked out at the rushing homes and fields and cried.
– Dr Rebecca E. Johnson
The Unknown Civilian is visually voracious, unapologetic as it assaults the senses and is covered in blood across its leaves. Antony Owen brings to the forefront the reality of war and conflicts over the last 100 years. This book makes a plea to all of us to understand the futility of war, inhabit the pain, and carnage of conflict, walk side by side with victims. Owen demands these images to be seared into our consciousness making us witnesses to the horrors of hostilities, massacres and genocides, rapes and suicides, we can’t run away. “I am collecting bones and laying them in a poem”, not only bones, but ghosts, mother’s laments and children’s cries haunt you from page to page. This collection is unsettling but alive and beautiful at the same time, the hallmark of a poet honouring those lives lost in conflict, speaking on behalf of the unknown civilian
– Roy McFarlane
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