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Exclusive: Benghazi 'scapegoat' Raymond Maxwell on life and poetry

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Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Raymond Maxwell is moving forward with his life, as he told the Examiner that the "garbage in the rear view mirror [is] getting smaller and smaller..."

Maxwell was one of the four officials inexplicably "disciplined" in the wake of the Benghazi terror attack on September 11, 2012. After waiting for answers for eight months, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the officials could return to work in August, 2013.

But the truth is that Raymond Maxwell the man is much more than a Benghazi headline.

His poetry, found here and here is compelling. Raymond, or "Ray" also has a blog, which started out as a compilation of Maxwell's work, and ultimately became a "collection of poetry." He developed his love for poetry when he was a child and said "it is never far from my thoughts." He explained,

"My father held a vast storehouse of poetry inside his head and would recite poems at dinner, among his friends, and especially when he drank too much." Ray explained. "As a small boy, he would wake me up in the middle of the night to recite a poem."

A "series of sonnets" Ray wrote, which "speak of love, lost then found, of love that never dies, that overcomes even death itself" are the "most meaningful" to him. He pointed to a poem which he described as his favorite.

Ray reflected that he believes his "best" and "most compelling poetry" was written in his teens and twenties. "Perhaps," he said, "because mental constructions had not been fully formed, so what I wrote was somewhat unpolluted."

Raymond Maxwell has dreams for the future. He told the Examiner that he wants to "do anthologies of poetry." This would consist, he said, of "Works of unheralded poets, works of unsung heroes, works of common people who have heard the 'call' to express themselves poetically." He also would like to "do some research into college and high school poets, over time, through yearbooks and local publications." Ray's ultimate goal is to "run a publishing operation, a press for the often unheard writers from towns and communities."

Ray answered this author's perhaps burdensome questions with a sincerity that was frankly touching. When asked about Benghazi, Ray pointed to his poetry, stating,

"You will see references to the whole experience in my poetry. I will leave that to you to uncover."

Indeed. "The sacrificial lamb," and "Letter to Walt," part of a series, stand out with some particularly poignant prose. Additionally, "Invitation" and "Re-Instatement August 20, 2013," seem to reference that painful time in Ray's life. Ray pointed the Examiner to "Baghdad Nights," and "Man and the expanding universe: art."

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