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Lessons In Camouflage

by Martin Ott


Martin Ott’s first two poetry collections won the De Novo and Sandeen Prizes. In his third collection LESSONS IN CAMOUFLAGE, he continues to explore the theme of casting a light on hidden truths. The book spans his turmoil as a U.S. Army interrogator to conflicts personal in nature: divorce, death, and determination to uncover the mysteries of what makes life worth living.



“Martin Ott’s Lessons In Camouflage is as hard to pin down as its title suggests. It weaves in and out of formal structures and straight talk, with poems both philosophical and poems made out of tabloid headlines. Head on, these poems confront conflict at all levels – family, war, and the morning commute. And because he lives in LA you will learn more than you thought possible about dangerous drivers. Lessons In Camouflage is exactly what he speculates our first books were–“dissertations on how much trouble we were in”. And like most trouble, this is an awful lot of fun.”

–Matthew Rohrer, author of The Others

Martin Ott’s Lessons in Camouflage examines the place where masculinity and its expectations intersect. There is a lushness and musicality to Ott’s poems, which belies the idea that poems about manhood should be spartan. Moreover, Ott has a gift for pulling stories from everyday objects and for making newer, more useful objects out of them, which are these well-crafted poems.

-Sonia Greenfield, author of Boy with a Halo at the Farmer’s Market

“In Lessons in Camouflage, Marin Ott invites readers to discover much strange beauty in mundane domesticities — graffiti in an apartment complex elevator, tedious morning commutes, people in line at Starbucks, these are among his subjects. But rather than reveling in how a clever writer can defamiliarize what we think we know, Ott’s great gift in this collection is to make the familiar seen in all its depth and complexity. This book takes readers fully and vividly into the inner life of a young military recruit, and then later, a father, and beyond that, a grieving son. We may think we know these stories, but what we think we know is mere camouflage – this book helps us see through the obfuscating veils into the clarity of a beating human heart. ”

-Kathryn Nuernberger, author of The End of Pink