Storytellers: Patrick Howse — Baghdad, Bombs, Trauma and Poetry

I’m just starting to get the hang of Twitter. I’m not interested in what you had for breakfast or how cute your dog is, and I don’t want a new car, house paint, face paint or a bunch of new chatterbox friends.  No thanks.

But if you worked in Baghdad as a rotating bureau chief and turned to writing poetry to regain your emotional stability in the wake of bombs dropping on your work place, you’ll get my attention.  So it is that I happened across Patrick Howse, of the BBC on Twitter.  I worked in television news for a long time, but the greatest risks I faced were primarily limited to getting through traffic.  The people in news who volunteer to go into war zones are a special breed.

Patrick’s poetry is at times gentle and moving, yet also stark and harrowing.  Through it we get a glimpse of what it means when the journalist needs a flak jacket to go to work.  Even more important, we get a sense of the story that can’t be told on air.

Here is Patrick Howse reading his poem ‘Hostile Environments Refresher Course’.

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