About the film

Voices in Wartime began in 2004 as a feature-length documentary that sharply etches the experience of war through powerful images and the words of poets – unknown and world-famous. Soldiers, journalists, historians and experts on combat interviewed in Voices in Wartime add diverse perspectives on war’s effects on soldiers, civilians and society. In Voices in Wartime, poets around the world, from the United States and Colombia to Britain and Nigeria to Iraq and India, share their views and experiences of war that extend beyond national borders and into the depth of the human soul.

Voices in Wartime brings to life how poetry and war have been intertwined since the beginning of recorded history –from ancient Babylonia and the fields of troy–to the great conflicts of the 20th century and the current war in Iraq. The stirring words of poets of the past – Homer, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman AND Shoda Shinoe from Hiroshima are combined with more recent voices: a Vietnam vet, poets in war-torn Baghdad, a poet whose family experienced the devastating war in Biafra. The poetry moves us to the emotion of war explained to us by soldiers, journalists and a doctor who have experienced the effects of combat firsthand. The poetry illuminates the reality. And the documentary reality helps us to understand the poetry. Together they sear the experience, emotions and sacrifices of war into our hearts and minds.

Voices in Wartime gives the gut-wrenching experience of war a fresh perspective. It steps away to look at all wars – not just the conflicts currently in the news. The terrible beauty of the poetry is our guide, distilling the grim realities and diverse emotions of war. History and literature have shown us that in times of war, poets can lead us to greater truths and that the power of poetry can help us understand the trauma, violence and death caused by armed conflict.

For more information about the film and its history, email Andrew Himes.

Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica”

Voices in the Film and Anthology

The Voices in Wartime film and anthology explore the experience of war through the literary arts from ancient times to the present, including the voices of US veterans of the Iraq war; experts on war trauma and the history of war; and poets from around the world. The following are included either in the film or the anthology, or both:

  • Jose Diaz,US Army Reserve military policeman and father of two. He returned to the US in the fall of 2004 after serving a year’s deployment in Iraq as a military police sergeant in the Army Reserves.
  • Brian Turner, who earned an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) from the University of Oregon, and then served in the US Army for seven years. He was an infantry team leader in Iraq for a year beginning November 2003, and served with the Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.
  • General William Lennox,superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on American war poetry.
  • Paul Mysliwiec, US Army First Lieutenant who led his unit through the invasion of Baghdad in spring 2003 and then spent months searching for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
  • Jonathan Shay, psychiatrist for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in Boston. Shay treats combat veterans with severe psychological injuries and is the author of the best-selling books “Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character,” and “Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming.”
  • Emily Warn,a poet, teacher, and activist—and the author of “The Novice Insomniac” and three other collections of poetry.
  • Chris Hedges, a former “New York Times” war correspondent with 15 years of experience in places such as El Salvador, Kosovo, and the Persian Gulf. He shared a 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism.
  • David Connolly, poet and veteran who served honorably in Vietnam with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
  • Wilfred Owen, British soldier-poet during the First World War. Died in combat a week before the Armistice in 1918.
  • Jonathan Schell, author of Unconquerable World, and Fate of the Earth.
  • Craig White, NBC cameraman, embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division, one of the first US Army units to enter Baghdad in April 2003.
  • Sinan Antoon, Iraqi poet, filmmaker, and human rights activist.
  • Chris Abani, Nigerian human rights activist and refugee.
  • Nguyen Duy, widely considered the most important Vietnamese poet of his generation.
  • Antonieta Villamil, Columbian poet, peace and human rights activist.
  • Rachel Bentham, Poet and novelist from Bristol, England, is widely published in the small press. Her stories and dramas are often broadcast on the BBC.
  • Sampurna Chattarji, born in Africa, is an award-winning poet and short-story writer. Her work has appeared in Poetry India: Millennium Voices and 100 Poets Against the War, among others. She lives in Mumbai (Bombay), India.
  • Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886. Reclusive and influential Massachusetts poet.
  • Ali Habash, Iraqi poet from Baghdad.
  • Pamela Talene Hale, Poet from Houston and Seattle.
  • Sam Hamill, Author of many volumes of poetry, essays, and translations, co-founder of Poets Against the War, editor of Copper Canyon Press.
  • Dominic Hibberd, Author of Wilfred Owen: A New Biography and several other books about poets and poetry of the First World War. He lives in the United Kingdom.
  • Marie Howe, Poet and professor at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.
  • Langston Hughes, 1902-1967. Eloquent and influential U.S. poet, essayist, playwright, storyteller, and activist for peace and social justice.
  • Randall Jarrell, 1914-1965. U.S. poet, soldier, and control tower operator during the Second World War. His poetry book, Little Friend, Little Friend, bitterly and dramatically documented the intense fears and moral struggles of young soldiers.
  • Lieutenant General William Lennox, Jr., Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point. General Lennox, wrote his PhD dissertation on American war poetry.
  • Peter Levitt, Poet, author, translator, and lifelong peace activist from the U.S., now living in British Columbia, Canada.
  • Marilyn Nelson, Poet Laureate of Connecticut and professor at University of Connecticut
  • Sherman Pearl, Poet and art activist who lives in Santa Monica, California.
  • Hashim Shafiq, Iraqi poet from Baghdad.
  • Jon Stallworthy, Well-known expert on war poetry at the University of Oxford and author of a biography of Wilfred Owen and editor of The Oxford Book of War Poetry.
  • Todd Swift, Canadian poet, essayist, screenwriter and international literary activist, editor of 100 Poets Against the War published in Britain in March 2003.
  • Antonieta Villamil, Colombian poet, editor and translator. International Poetry Award “Gastón Baquero 2001” with her book Los Acantilados del Sueño.
  • Emily Warn, Poet, teacher, and activist; author of The Novice Insomniac and three other collections of poetry; co-founder of Poets Against the War.
  • Craig White, NBC cameraman embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division, one of the first U.S. Army units to enter Baghdad in April 2003, witness to a horrific firefight as he was trapped for hours under a bridge in Baghdad.
  • Walt Whitman, 1819-1892. Groundbreaking U.S. poet, writer, teacher, journalist, and Civil War nurse. He is the author of Leaves of Grass.

Enheduanna — Sumerian poet, 2300 BC

Emily Warn

Jonathan Shay

Jonathan Schell

Marilyn Nelson

London protest, February 15, 2003

British Poets during the Great War (WWI)

Production Crew

Voices in Wartime was a production of Two Careys Productions, an independent film production company based in Seattle. The principals for the film included:

Executive Producer – Andrew Himes was founding director of Charter for Compassion International in 2011, and is currently Director of Collective Impact for the Carbon Leadership Forum (Unversity of Washington, College of Built Environments). During the 1980s, Himes spent several years as a technology journalist and editor, and In 1992 went to work for Microsoft, where he helped pioneer the company’s embrace of the Internet by managing the first web team at Microsoft. He is author of The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family.

Editor – Shannon Morzov is a Los Angeles based filmmaker, and founder creative director of Morzov Productions. Though a native Angeleno, her passion for film was kick started while up North at UC Berkley, where she made the Eisner Award winning documentary No Trespassing: Sovereignty at Risk. During ten years at Hurwitz Creative, she produced content for marketing and publicity campaigns for titles including: The Hunger Games 1-4, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and Life of Pi.  Her credits include: Star Trek Beyond, Bridgerton, Mank, The Trial of the Chicago 7, The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit and Waffles and Mochi.

Writer/producer/director – Rick King got his start in film studying with pioneering documentary filmmaker Richard Leacock at M.I.T. After graduating from Stanford University, he learned his craft as an editor, producer, writer, and director in documentaries and advertisements. King has directed 12 feature films. Two of his movies – Hard Choices and Off the Wall – were in the Sundance Film Festival. King was co-producer and shared story credit for Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. 

Composer – Anton Sanko has worked on such notable films as Strangeland, Farmhouse, Ripe, Jonathan Demme’s Nyack Jumpers, An Occasional Hell, Girl in the Cadillac, Girlfriend, and Scotland, PA., among others. He has also written songs for Demme’s Philadelphia and Barry Sonnefeld’s For Love or Money. Sanko has composed scores for numerous documentaries. In addition, he has produced and acted in the capacity of musical director for Susan Vega, Anna Domino, Lucy Kaplansky and Jim Carroll. Website.

Producer – Jonathan King is a volunteer, Web/communications consultant and writer for nonprofit organizations and a retired high school history teacher. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist and producer for television, radio, newspapers, and magazines. He has reported on a wide range of issues, including the Iran-Contra affair, covert operations, nuclear safety and secrecy, the environment, computer technology, and consumer safety. His articles have appeared in The New York TimesNewsdayThe Dallas Morning News, MS., The Village VoiceMother Jones, and many other publications.

Editor – Daniel Loewenthal has been an editor and postproduction supervisor for decades. He began his career at KQED TV in San Francisco where he worked as an editorial assistant in the newsroom and on a documentary series, The San Francisco Mix. He has since edited or supervised the completion of more than 100 commercial, corporate and documentary projects, including a reality series for The Discovery Network, entitled Explore Our World. Loewenthal was also the supervising editor on Portrait of Japan, a four-part documentary series for Turner Broadcasting. He has edited more than 50 feature films for studios and independents. Website.

Alix Wilber was a co-executive producer. Co-producers included Jag Bhalla, Robin Romeo, and Kathryn Linehan