Tarn, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Tarn - Avia


Nathaniel Tarn - Avia

Paperback, 304pp, 9x6ins 
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Franco-Anglo-American poet Nathaniel Tarn worked for over fifteen years on researching and writing this long poem about the fate of fighter aircraft and their pilots in 1939–45. In this most surprising departure from his usual concerns, Tarn shows Charles Lindbergh dreaming of returning to the U.S. by air, instead of by sea (as ordered), after his great 1927 New York–Paris achievement. Once again he hears voices in his cockpit. These voices tell him the story of aviation in World War Two. A selection of battles and campaigns covers Britain; Malta and North Africa; the Russian Front; the return to Europe and the War in the Pacific. British, German, Italian, Russian, American and Japanese pilots are the main protagonists, with many other air forces making appearances. Lindbergh, his highly controversial views only somewhat changed, wakes to fight in the New Guinea area, visits Germany in search of German experts and dies on Hawaii reviewing his extraordinary career. A substantial afterword illuminates many aspects of the poem.


The poem is an attempt to take seriously William Carlos Williams's dictum — "No ideas but in things." The era's technology of combat flying and its maneuvers; the deployment of individual and collective forces; the fates of pilots male and female (in the Russian case); the interactions of fighters with bombers, ships and land forces — all of these are victims of an objective, factual treatment resulting in a new and challenging poetry focused on a facet of the greatest event of our time. The ethical problems of such flying are often examined. Drama, however, is very far from absent.


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