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Collecting the nationally-recognized poems of Victoria Kelly, When the Men Go Off to War captures the hopes, anxieties, and intimacies of the military spouse during a time of war. Written over the course of her husband's deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, these haunting poems span vast geographical distances and generations, moving between the literal and the fanciful to find community in the midst of isolation. Kelly blends lyric and narrative elements to evoke themes of loneliness and human fragility with keen insight. But ultimately, When the Men Go Off to War is a heartrending ode to enduring romance and the reclamation of a marriage tested by loss and separation.




"Superb... Ms. Kelly has a flair for similes so good that they can enact a poem's closure."

David Lehman, Best American Poetry

“Meticulously crafted [and] highly readable ... I've been moved and transformed by her remarkable verse. One of the finest first collections I’ve read in the last decade.”

Dick Allen, Former Connecticut Poet Laureate

“Each extraordinary poem remains etched in the brain long after the last page has been turned.”

Siobhan Fallon, Author of You Know When the Men Are Gone

“Place and memory play central roles [in this collection that has] received widespread critical acclaim.”


“A beautifully written book, quiet, spare, and moving.”

Dorianne Laux, Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry 

"At once beautiful and tragic and always real."

We Are the Mighty

“Tight stanzas as precise as a gun... Kelly illuminates the true weight of companionship." 

Coal Hill Review

"Its powerful prose earns its author the right to be placed on any bookshelf dedicated to war."

San Antonio Express-News

"Her graceful lines float [on the page]." 

Military Times

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