Book Review :: Radio Static by James Hoch

Radio Static by James Hoch book cover image

Guest Post by Carla Sarett

Recently, I have been reading chapbooks, partly as a happy result of submitting my own poetry to small presses. So it was my good fortune to select Radio Static by James Hoch, whose work is new to me. I can’t stop reading it now.   

In this sparse book, Hoch writes of his brother who served a long tour of duty in Afghanistan. (Hoch’s brother served from 2003 to 2021, and is now living in Idaho.) In one gorgeous poem entitled “Afghanistan,” the poet transforms his brother “into a Pashto prayer for what he has done” and Afghanistan into “a cough I clear.” In another poem, “Martins,” Hoch hears the “wind whistling through my brother.” The reader senses the truth of what brothers are, and the horror of what soldiers do and are left with.   

Every war creates its own brand of bitterness, its own unfinished business, and its own poetry. America has quit Afghanistan, but these poems will remind us of the men that war created and forgot. Radio Static will become part of this war’s legacy.


Radio Static by James Hoch. Green Linden Chapbook Series, December 2021.

Reviewer bio: Carla Sarett’s recent poems appear in Pithead Chapel, Quartet Journal, Neologism, and elsewhere. Her novel, A Closet Feminist was published in February 2022 by Unsolicited Press. Carla lives in San Francisco.

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