Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016) – available for purchase on Amazon
Clamor, Sweet Insurgent, and Uniform: Three Collections of Poetry from Before, During & After Wartime, reviewed by Andria Williams on The Military Spouse Book Review
An Unconventional Review of Uniform by Lisa Stice, reviewed by Kathleen M. Rodgers on The Military Spouse Book Review
Poetry Book Review: ‘Uniform’ by Lisa Stice, reviewed by Charlie Sherpa (a.k.a. Randy Brown) on Red Bull Rising
In this unflinching debut collection of poems, Lisa Stice opens a conversation that we have long needed to have and hear: the experience of military spouses who watch war, sometimes achingly and sometimes bitterly, from the home front, part of a system and bound by its rules and yet not quite by direct choice (“you may hold his left hand / if he’s not in uniform”). The formal play of these poems echoes the experiences they render. Found text, fragmentation, and syntactical play enact the brutality done to community and communication by the bureaucracy of the military, at war and at home:
We’re at the Redwoods/
at the natural history museum/
(insert family vacation)
can you at least pretend to have fun?
Uniform will resonate with any who have experienced the violence of separation, the doubt and difficulty of reunion, the dehumanization of institutions, of the harm of the unsaid or unsayable. It is a brave and vulnerable book.
– Elizabeth Bradfield, author of Once Removed (Persea Books)
“Where was my training?” asks Lisa Stice, a poet married to a Marine officer on combat deployment. Where was her training for the mortal anxiety and crushing loneliness she felt? Where was her training in the solitary care for their infant daughter? Where was her training in how to respond to the too-stoic silence that surrounded her as a military wife? Where was her training for life after war? The short answer is there was nowhere near enough; there was only coping and enduring, hoping and surviving. These are poems that teach us that when a nation goes to war there really is no “over there,” and that the war zone inevitably extends all the way back home.
– Fred Marchant, author of The Looking House (Graywolf Press)
Through Lisa Stice’s moving first collection Uniform, we live a young woman’s struggle to integrate herself into a culture as foreign to her as the one her husband is deployed to. Stice’s narrator is newly married to the U.S. Marine Corp itself, it seems, as much as her husband, and it is with courage and consistent authenticity that Stice explores the inherent conflict of a third party involving itself in an institution traditionally reserved for couples only. As the narrator wrestles with the difficulty of the discovery of self in conflict with society, the reader is forced, rather than simply invited, to engage with this most human of problems. This is true power expressed through true art, and we can’t escape it unchanged, though we may echo the hope of reconciliation of self with culture, that in the end “Maybe we will dance./Maybe we will retire early.”
– Randy Phillis, author of The Plots We Can’t Keep Up With (Encircle Publications)