U.S. Navy Reservist & Poet Interrogates American Heroism, Homecomings


In a quietly epic narrative—lashed-together from the author’s life-experiences as husband and father, literary scholar, and U.S. Navy Reserve intelligence officer—Liam Corley’s debut collection of poetry, Unwound: Poems from Enduring Wars, navigates with readers previously unseen frontiers in the Global War on Terror (GWOT).

With care and precision, Corley’s poems probe the dark, interior corners of American heroic ideals, marriage, family, and homecoming. In the collection’s titular poem, for example, he delivers “a poem for the other soldiers / citizens who never fired back [...]” He writes:

“[...] I see you with a yellow ribbon wound
tight around your chest, looking down
when asked about the war [...]”

For veterans, family members, and other citizens living in troubled times, Corley’s collection provides a beacon of clear-eyed reflection, assessment, and hopes for the future.

However we identify—whether wounded or unwounded, civilian or military—this is war poetry for the rest of us.

Corley is a currently serving navy reservist with deployment experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout the Pacific area of operations. In his civilian career, Corley is a humanities professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Calif. His scholarship often focuses heroic American literature and culture—topics he also interrogates and illuminates through his non-academic writing, which includes both poetry and science-fiction.

His poetry has previously appeared in literary journals and anthologies including The Line Literary Review, First Things, Chautauqua, The Wrath-Bearing Tree, Strange Horizons, O-Dark-Thirty, Inlandia, Badlands, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, and War, Literature, & the Arts. 

He lives in southern California with his wife and four children.

Launching Aug. 8, 2023:

Unwound: Poems from Enduring Wars (103 pages, Middle West Press LLC), available in a $11.99 trade paperback edition through Amazon and other booksellers, as well as a $5.99 Kindle e-book edition exclusively via Amazon.

“Middle West Press LLC (www.middlewestpress.com) is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, journalism, and poetry. As an independent micro-press, we publish one to four titles annually. Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest.”


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