Dorothy Barresi's | What We Did While We Made More Guns | Book Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Dorothy Barresi's What We Did While We Made More Guns 

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Dorothy Barresi
What We Did While We Made More Guns
University of Pittsburgh Press
www.upress.pitt.edu

Published on March 25, one day after the national March For Our Lives, Dorothy Barresi’s fifth poetry collection, What We Did While We Made More Guns, couldn’t be more timely.

In it, Barresi takes on violence in its many forms — from the sands of the Middle East and America’s War on Terror, to the inner-city streets in the heart of the U.S., where stories of African-American men killed by police often beget outrage and further violence. 

Throughout the collection, Barresi takes readers to the brink of the horrific before delivering a tender image that reins in our revulsion. In the titular poem, Barresi writes, “Ate the mice that overran the field / instead, blood and small hides / in our cupped hands, and / purpose, / our hair / dripping as though we had just stepped / from a bath with our beloved.” 

Through this juxtaposition, Barresi reminds us that pain and suffering are not remote ideas, happening to someone else, somewhere else, but are very much a part of the “American Dream.”


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