Feet of the Messenger: Poems (Paperback)

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"Between the horrors of the Vietnam War and the paci_ c silences of the Kansas

prairie, H. C. Palmer honors both the beauty of the English language and the ancient

powers of poetry to speak experience without diminishing it. Seldom has the

poetry of war achieved such aesthetic intensity and moral clarity or so powerfully

raised us from the illusion that the wounds of Achilles will ever mend."

--B. H. Fairchild, The Art of the Lathe and Usher

"An epigraph in this first book by H.C. Palmer offers a clue to why the poetry is

so affecting: 'to see and know a place is a contemplative act.' The places visited

in this little book are as varied as rural Kansas and war-torn Vietnam where

the author was a battalion surgeon who returned home to practice medicine,

deal with the family farm, and walk the trout streams in Wyoming, bringing his

past experiences with him, vividly, and with beautiful precision of detail even

when the events are disturbing...like my favorites: 'Resurrection, ' which traces a

deadly bullet in reverse time back to its smelting in Independence, Missouri . . .

or 'Bird-Hunting the Tall Grass, ' which tricks the reader into a flashback . . . or

Palmer's elegant poems of lyric praise for nature like 'Ode to the Rio Grande

Cutthroat' and the wonderful 'Tide.'

--John Balaban, Remembering Heaven's Face and After Our War

"Encountering these poems you might think of B. H. Fairchild, James

Wright, Gary Snyder, Brian Turner, but you'd be wrong. This is original

work where time jumps, as does the boundary betwixt reality and dream,

memory and imagination. And war, as it will, soaks all. H. C. Palmer writes

with the visceral authority of combat seen and visions earned. Vital,

necessary reading . . ."

--Donald Anderson, Fire Road and Gathering Noise from My

Life: A Camouflaged Memoir

"As a young medical resident, H. C. Palmer was drafted by Lyndon Baines

Johnson to serve in the Vietnam War. He treated comrades and wounded

civilians alike; he saw many die. In Feet of the Messenger, he has produced

an extraordinary testament to that moment in history and to its afterlife.

America did not invent the practice of shipping its young people off to

slaughter other people on specious pretexts, and H. C. Palmer is far too

wise, and far too good a poet, to lecture us on the consequences, but in

his tributes to the dead, his tributes to survival, his luminous portraits of

compassion and reprieve, he grants us a vision of the better world we still,

please heaven, might have a chance to make."

--Linda Gregerson, Magnetic North and Waterborne

"H. C. Palmer's poems evoke a place and a time, Vietnam during the war,

with clarity and heart. They are invocations to the spirits of memory and

healing. They are witnesses that must be heard."

--Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn: A Novel of the VietnamWar and

What It Is Like to Go to War

About the Author


H.C. Palmer grew up in Chanute, Kansas and finished high school in Atchison. He was an all-state athlete in both football and basketball. He went on to play football at the University of Kansas, where he was a starter during his junior and senior year. He attended medical school at the University of Kansas Medical School. Following his first year of residency in internal medicine, he was drafted, along with 1500 other American doctors and eventually served in Vietnam as a battalion surgeon. During his medical career, H.C. was team physician for Harding College, a member of the NAIA Medical Aspects of Sports Committee, Team Physician for the 1973 USA All-Star Basketball team touring the People’s Republic of China, Chief Medical Officer for the USA team at the 1979 World University Games in Mexico City, and Team physician for the San Diego Clippers from 1982-85 when the Clippers moved their franchise to Los Angeles. A person of many interests, H.C. raised registered Polled Hereford Cattle for 12 years. In 1981 the ranch’s pen of three yearling bulls won First Place at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. He also held a private pilot’s license and logged over 550 hours before he left Liberal, Kansas to return, as he says, to civilization. Retired from medicine now for five years, he has worked with veterans in the Kansas City area, helping them write to tell their stories. H.C.’s poems have appeared in many literary journals and the national on-line journal, Poetry Daily. He is an assistant poetry editor for Narrative Magazine. His first collection, Feet of the Messenger, was recently published by BkMk Press and the University of Missouri, Kansas City. H.C. and his wife Valerie live in the suburbs of Kansas City.

Praise For…


Between the horrors of the Vietnam War and the pacific silences of the Kansas prairie, H. C. Palmer honors both the beauty of the English language and the ancient powers of poetry to speak experience without diminishing it. Seldom has the poetry of war achieved such aesthetic intensity and moral clarity or so powerfully raised us from the illusion that the wounds of Achilles will ever mend. --B. H. Fairchild, The Art of the Lathe and Usher
Encountering these poems you might think of B. H. Fairchild, James Wright, Gary Snyder, Brian Turner, but you d be wrong. This is original work where time jumps, as does the boundary betwixt reality and dream, memory and imagination. And war, as it will, soaks all. H. C. Palmer writes with the visceral authority of combat seen and visions earned. Vital, necessary reading . . . --Donald Anderson, Fire Road and Gathering Noise from My Life: A Camouflaged Memoir
As a young medical resident, H. C. Palmer was drafted by Lyndon Baines Johnson to serve in the Vietnam War. He treated comrades and wounded civilians alike; he saw many die. In Feet of the Messenger, he has produced an extraordinary testament to that moment in history and to its afterlife. America did not invent the practice of shipping its young people off to slaughter other people on specious pretexts, and H. C. Palmer is far too wise, and far too good a poet, to lecture us on the consequences, but in his tributes to the dead, his tributes to survival, his luminous portraits of compassion and reprieve, he grants us a vision of the better world we still, please heaven, might have a chance to make. --Linda Gregerson, Magnetic North and Waterborne
H. C. Palmer s poems evoke a place and a time, Vietnam during the war, with clarity and heart. They are invocations to the spirits of memory and healing. They are witnesses that must be heard. --Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn: A Novel of the VietnamWar and What It Is Like to Go to War.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781943491100
ISBN-10: 1943491100
Publisher: BkMk Press of the University of Missouri-Kans
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2017
Pages: 80
Language: English