Poetry paints a striking portrait of war

Published 10:50 pm Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gabriel Gadfly is not a name that many people around Pike County will recognize.

But the name Adam Kamerer will perk more than a few ears.

Kamerer is a former member of the Southside Shufflers line dance group and those who enjoyed his shuffling will be interested to know that Adam Kamerer is Gabriel Gadfly.

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Kamerer, a 2008 graduate of University of Montevallo, used Gabriel Gadfly as his pen name for his recently published anthology of wartime poetry titled, “Bone Fragments.”

Gadfly/Kamerer’s poetry encompasses 150 years of conflict, from the War Between the States to the recent upheavals in the Middle East.

Kamerer said his poetry attempts to seize the atmosphere of battle in the smallest of moments.

“A soldier pining for love left behind, the first kill of a new recruit or the loud chattering of teeth in the cold,” he said.

“Bone Fragments” is set in the trenches of the Deep South, in Iraq, in China and a dozen other places where wars have been fought. It’s sharply poignant and touched with sadness.

“‘Bone Fragments” reflects the kaleidoscope of life at war, evoking the colors, sounds and sorrow of those in battle and those left behind,” Kamerer said.

The poems are not of one war but of all wars and about all of those who have fought them: “I am only this: I am a mother’s son. I am a father’s daughter. I end lives. I save them. I build cities; I bomb them. I secure and I breach, storm beaches, build schools, I bleed and I staunch. My name is soldier.”

Those lines from “My Name is Soldier,” the first entry in Kamerer’s anthology, is a dedication of sorts to all of those who have fought, bled and died for country.

Kamerer is a student of history and now works at the Carmichael Library at the University of Montevallo.

His love of poetry goes back to his freshman year in high school and his fascination with words – both written and spoken. He has always found beauty in the way poetry ebbs and flows and in the way that it speaks in a language of its own.

As a college student, Kamerer took courses in creative writing and “got serious” about poetry. He began to put his poems on his website.

“I entered a contest sponsored by a veterans’ association in Oregon and my poem, ‘Beautiful Like’ won,” Kamerer said. “My publisher encouraged me to write a book and asked if I had anything that I was working on. I was working on war poems.”

Kamerer’s chat book soon became a full collection of 50 poems, “Bone Fragments.”

“Both of my grandfathers were in the military,” he said. “One grandfather served in the Army and Navy during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. ‘Bone Fragments’ is dedicated to my grandfathers and to all the men and women who have ever been drawn into the machinery of war.

Kamerer’s poems are based on real life events and real life people. However, the poems don’t reference specific individuals.

“Bone Fragments” is a blending of fiction and facts that chronicle of 150 years of combat in the hope that, “even if peace cannot ever be obtained, we can remember that it is a human thing.”