Writing War

February 22, 2019 § Leave a comment

A year ago I sat on a folding chair in an ordinary meeting room listening to poetry. The room had a table with the usual hospitality contributions – bottles of juices and water, crackers, a tray of vegetables and hummus. Another table held books for sale and a third a display of paper made from the pulped uniforms of veterans.

The event was a reading to celebrate the launch of Sound Off: Warrior Writers NJ, a volume whose unassuming size gave little hint of the explosion of power within. Some of the poets were already friends – Vietnam veteran Jim Murphy, Iraq veterans Kevin Basl and Nate Lewis. Others were names I had known for decades but had never met. Jan Barry and W.D. Ehrhart I knew from their work in Winning Hearts and Minds: War Poems by Vietnam Veterans, published while the war was still waging. Dayl Wise, co-founder of Post-Traumatic Press, Walt Nygard, Everett Cox were names I picked up along the way and, listening to their poetry, glad of it. « Read the rest of this entry »

Book Seasons

November 11, 2018 § 3 Comments

Photograph by Dede Hatch

I needed more room on the shelves that hold my books about Vietnam, about the war there, then and now. One by one I asked them – do you need to be here now? I am on a journey with this work and that journey keeps changing, sometimes before I have fully noticed. Holding onto anything that has become dead weight is senseless. If I were trekking to the Arctic it would be life-threatening. Perhaps that is true now as well. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Book, Still

February 3, 2017 § 5 Comments

220px-usns_core_t-akv-41_on_saigon_river_c1967I wondered, in the months since the election, if events had outrun my book. The war I write about seems almost quaint today. What use can telling its story be to us now? No one wants to hear any more about it anyway, right? « Read the rest of this entry »

Activism Nostalgia

November 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

rotate-1566280_1920There was a reason for that slogan we had, “Never trust anyone over 30.” We were on to something. We believed the Vietnam War was wrong. We believed in civil rights and women’s rights. We believed we had to be better stewards of the earth. « Read the rest of this entry »

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