A Call to Words: Veterans and Why They Write

By , October 28, 2013 5:35 pm

Last LambsThis year marks the 40th anniversary of the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.  To honor our veterans, BkMk Press,  is holding two free events in early November.  These events also celebrate BkMk’s rerelease of Last Lambs: New and Selected Poems of Vietnam by Bill Bauer.  Both nights, Bauer and H.C. Palmer, another poet and Vietnam-era veteran, will take part in a conversation moderated by New Letters on the Air producer, Angela Elam.  They will also read from their poetry and discuss how writing has helped them find meaning in their post-war lives.

The events will take place Tuesday, November 5th at Park University’s Meetin’ House at 7pm (reception starting at 6:30) and on Thursday, November 7th at JCCC’s Hudson Auditorium at 7pm with reception to follow at Café Tempo.  No RSVP required.  Learn more about the events here.

“An Orwellian experience,” is how Bauer describes the out-processing of soldiers back into the civilian world.  “I was never debriefed except to have my teeth checked and given blood tests for venereal diseases.” At the heart of the November events are a desire to promote writing as a way to help soldiers reintegrate back into civilian life and reflect upon their past and present experiences.  “Writing about my experiences (many years later),” says Palmer, “has brought about healing.  I’ve come to understand that I had no choice in the matter.”  This desire is the impetus for The Writers Place’s vision of a veterans writing group.

Founded in 1971, BkMk Press has been a part of UMKC since 1983.  BkMk concentrates on publishing collections of poetry, short fiction and creative essays. Publishing roughly six titles a year, BkMk Press has more than 125 titles in print.  Financial assistance for BkMk Press is provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, by UMKC, and by private donations.

Also partnering with BkMk Press for these events are:  Johnson County Community College and Park University’s Warrior Center,  New Letters magazine, New Letters on the Air, Rezvets, and The Writers Place.


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