Ken is co-producer/director with his wife, Betty, of the award-winning documentary film Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor, featuring his company of Marines recalling the 77-day siege of Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968, and what it means to them these many years later. The unforgettable film is available on DVD here, or can be seen on Amazon Prime Video here. You can also follow the Facebook page here.
Betty and Ken are nearing completion of another documentary film, I Married the War, in which 11 wives of combat veterans reveal their untold stories of how the war came home with their husbands, and how it still affects their lives today. Representing the WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Middle East Wars time periods, the women speak for the more than 5.5 million military caregivers in our country today. Meet the wives on the website, and follow the film on Facebook.
BOOK REVIEW By Jonah Raskin
Jaxon’s Press; 2010
I read a lot of poetry and discover new poets all the time, but I haven’t read a book of poems recently as wonderful as Ken Rodgers’s Passenger Pigeons. Perhaps that’s because I know Rodgers and when I read his poems to myself I can see him and hear him. That helps bring the poems alive and so they reverberate in my head. Rodgers has a distinctive voice and it positively bounces off the pages in Passenger Pigeons.
There’s something intensely physical about the poems, too. The human body comes through, comes across whether it’s his own body, or the bodies of others, human as well as animal. There’s a wide range of poems, variations on themes, and always something new and surprising on the next page, and the page after that. Passenger Pigeons holds one’s attention.
The elegant chapbook is published by Jaxon’s Press. It has nearly three dozen poems that take readers around the country, across rivers, and into the past, too, in eye-opening poems such as “Auschwitz” and “Joe Stalin.”
I recommend this book to old friends of Ken Rodgers who want to become reacquainted with his voice. I also recommend it to those who have never heard him read and who can discover a distinctive western American poet who pays homage to the earth and shows us the fragility of our ties to the earth. Passenger Pigeons takes wing and soars.
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Contact Ken Rodgers here for permission to use his work.