||The poems collected in Cenotaph have as their genesis my deployments to Iraq for the U.S. Army in 2003 and 2005. The book expresses the contradiction, paradox, loss, and horrifically strange beauty of contemporary warfare. Written and revised over the course of eleven years, from 2003-2014, the poems were initially created to represent the realities of war in Iraq as lived by me and other U.S. soldiers fighting there. The early poems sought the accurate portrayal of experience and exuded a hope that other soldiers would see themselves and their experiences truthfully and ethically depicted. As the work of writing and collecting the poems progressed, a small number of poems came into existence that weren't based on biographical events. The collection, at this point, began to shift from a reflection of reality to one expressive of the impossibility of adequately representing reality. The war experience, with its mandate of kill or be killed, its radical alteration of identity, its brutalization of humanity, was and remains beyond the capacity of narrative and language to represent or re-create. Thus, although the majority of the poems in this collection are based on actual lived events, those poems are collected alongside fictional, exaggerated and hyperbolic poems whose work is not to represent reality but to comment on and perhaps even remake what could be called reality. These are war poems, but also love poems and hate poems, poems about dying and living, poems about hope and hopelessness. These are poems that reflect both a resignation to, and rejection of, the impossibility of saying anything definitive or honest about war and its aftermath.