‘A Word Like God’: New Book From Army Ranger Leo Jenkins

March 16, 2023Mac Caltrider
leo jenkins a word like god

'A Word Like God' is the third book of poetry from Leo Jenkins. Photo courtesy of Instagram/Leo Jenkins.

Army Ranger-turned-poet Leo Jenkins is leading the way, again. His third book of poetry, A Word Like God, hits shelves Friday, and it's a notable departure from what we’ve come to expect from GWOT veterans who have taken up the pen. For starters, his poems aren’t about war.

Jenkins seems to reinvent himself with each book. His first, Lest We Forget, was a straight-shooting memoir about his years as a medic in the 75th Ranger Regiment. His second, On Assimilation, chronicled his transition from the kinetic life of a special operator to that of a civilian small business owner. Both were thought-provoking, funny, and commercially successful. 

Then, after Jenkins traded in a “normal” life for that of a vagabond, he penned First Train Out of Denver, which reads like a caffeine-fueled modernization of Jack Kerouac’s amphetamine-fueled On The Road. As Jenkins’ fan base grew, so did his repertoire. In 2018, he jumped mediums and produced his first book of poems, With A Pen. He followed that up in 2020 with war {n} pieces. 

Now, with his pen dialed in to sub-MOA accuracy, Jenkins has crafted his best poetry collection yet.

Leo Jenkins

Leo Jenkins' first book, Lest We Forget, chronicles his time as a Ranger medic. Photo courtesy of Instagram/Leo Jenkins.

In A Word Like God, Jenkins explores themes of fatherhood, spirituality, and the origin of our beliefs. Weighty topics for sure, but Jenkins succeeds in parsing them without coming across as overly cerebral or preachy. Like the best poets, he distills big ideas into lines that are simple and easy to digest. Furthemore, he rarely references his military past, which only makes the collection more remarkable. His experiences as a combat soldier bring unique depth and power to the work, but they are not its focus. 

A person can never fully transcend their past, and Jenkins is no exception. Yet he has liberated himself from the purgatory of war that so many soldier-writers languish in. Like a modern-day Odysseus, he has relinquished his arms and given himself over to the subtle richness of ordinary life — to the earnest pursuit of meaningful work, artistic achievement, and being a good father. 

A Word Like God is currently available for pre-order through veteran-owned publishing company Dead Reckoning Collective. It will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and bookstores nationwide on Friday, March 17.

Read Next: ‘Lovecraft’s Iraq’: Recon Marines Fight From Fallujah to the Mountains of Madness

Mac Caltrider
Mac Caltrider

Mac Caltrider is a senior staff writer for Coffee or Die Magazine. He served in the US Marine Corps and is a former police officer. Caltrider earned his bachelor’s degree in history and now reads anything he can get his hands on. He is also the creator of Pipes & Pages, a site intended to increase readership among enlisted troops. Caltrider spends most of his time reading, writing, and waging a one-man war against premature hair loss.

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