“Killing America chills me, even after 25 years as a police officer and 15 years in counter terrorism. We don’t see all sides of the violence we fight against, and these poems take no sides. Reggie Marra exposes the pain felt by fellow humans, the challenges we face when we take sides, and the compassion we need to see each other’s pain.”
– Christopher Rogers, Father, Husband, Retired Peace Officer and Bomb Technician
“What is the underside of the American dream? Reggie Marra’s searing, soul-screaming poetry addresses the wielding of power within a democracy: what if the enemy is not from without, but within? What if America’s drive toward a unifying and international vision of democracy has become an ongoing war to glean supremacy over those without power on both U.S. and foreign soil? What if the victims of such a war were measured in data points—soldiers, civilians, students, teachers, men, women, children, the occasional politician—rather than empathy?
“Reggie’s agonizing and precise language describes the carnage resulting from America’s efforts to destabilize dictatorships in Iraq or terrorists in Afghanistan, while shining an unbearable light on the victims of a million American bullets, of children dead, communities ravaged, and families of color pillaged by a virulent strain of America’s unrelenting and targeted war on their men. And what if the collective response from a fatigued nation was merely a shrug, the deaths of human beings simply collateral damage in a quest not for the accessibility of the American dream, but rather for the ongoing accumulation power and money? Reggie’s vision is not a slight to the fighting men and women overseas, but rather a reveille to an apathetic American public who must rouse and feel and be damned if they will allow it to continue. Reggie leaves the freedom-loving reader little room for doubt: if not us, who? If not now, when?”
– Joan Hurley, 2008 Connecticut Teacher of the Year
“Coach Marra, a man who knew me as a teenager who was trying to figure out how to adjust in the world and who helped mold me into the individual that I am today, is still a part of my life. He always expected better of me, which annoyed me more times than one could imagine. Years later, he still speaks to me through his poetry. In Killing America, “The Sniper” most resonates most with me, as it captures aspects of myself as a military officer (retired) and a parent. Reggie touched my soul in my adolescence and continues to do so in my adult years.”
– Edwin G. Nall Sr., LTC(R), Father, Husband
“Reggie Marra’s poetry is both raw and sobering, highlighting how violence changes everything it ‘touches’ either by design or by default, whether we are participants or spectators. Violence can be disorganized or organized – driven by irrational emotions, sometimes mental illness, or a cultivated capability to seek or protect power. Violence exists on a spectrum: inter-personal violence on one end and collective violence (military combat) on the other. Each of us is responsible for the violence we commit anywhere on that spectrum.
“Marra’s work also illuminates how elected officials focus on gaining and retaining political power while their intended focus is to lead or represent the best interests of their constituents. If these elected officials don’t understand the nature of violence and its cultural implications, then their decisions (or indecision) will generate increased levels of unintended violence during their costly learning curve. The spectrum of violence can’t be eliminated; it can be minimized if understood. This book helps us do that.”
– Bob Killackey, Marine Infantry Officer, Combat Veteran, Husband, and now Public High School Teacher
“In Killing America, Reggie Marra gives us deep, disturbing images of War – at home and abroad. What I take with me, especially, are these lines from ‘You Stood Up’ – ‘your open heart / exposed the mask / of fear your mind / mistook for you, / so you stood up / and no one got hurt.’”
– Waverly Nall, Father