Bill Garvey's Poem 'Tampons'

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In his poem “Tampons,” Bill Garvey provides a social commentary on the disconnection between the U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq and the civilians in the United States. The speaker of “Tampons” is in the local post office, and discovers a “list of needs” which are items going overseas (line 5). Garvey’s poem “Tampons” features a first-person speaker, the situation and setting which are presented within the first two lines, and imagery to allow readers to gain a realization of the casualties and bloodshed during within the war in Iraq. Garvey uses a first-person speaker who is oblivious to the harsh realities of the war in Iraq. The speaker is in the United States, while Sergeant Robert Diaz, the creator of the “list of needs,” is in Iraq (line…show more content…
To describe the speaker’s innocence to the usage of the tampons, Garvey employs a simile to compare the way the speaker “squint[ed] like a child” because the word “doesn’t fit the rest” (lines 12-14). Sergeant Robert Diaz then explains how the tampons are used in Iraq which is “to plug bullet holes” (line 16). This clarification creates a change from not knowing the harsh realities of war, to being fully aware of the bloodshed in Iraq. At first, the speaker was innocent “like a child” and uninformed of what was happening in Iraq (line 12). After reading Diaz’s explanation, the speaker gains a visualization of the blood being stopped with tampons; therefore, the speaker becomes aware of what the soldiers experience daily. The speaker before the change was disconnected to what the soldiers were experiencing. But the letter served as a personal account of Sergeant Robert Diaz’s point of view. This personal account caused intimacy between the speaker and Sergeant Robert Diaz. Garvey’s poem “Tampons” is a social commentary that depicts the disconnection between those on the battlefield and those at home. Without mentioning tampons, Garvey uses a first-person speaker, presents both the situation and setting within the first two lines, and employs imagery to allow readers to gain a realization of the facts of the war in Iraq. Overall, Garvey’s poem does present an understanding of the war with
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