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Returned from Afghanistan, Oklahoma War Poet Wrestles with Parenthood

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In her debut collection of poetry, Paying for Gas with Quarters , U.S. Army veteran Aly Allen explores and illuminates the war in Afghanistan , wartime and childhood traumas , and the challenges of  post-war parenthood . The Kindle e-book edition is available for pre-order here at this link . The print edition will release Oct. 10, 2023. Allen deployed to Afghanistan as a broadcast journalist with the U.S. 10th Mountain Division . A divorced parent of two, Allen is neurodivergent, as are her kids. She also is diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) . She recently gender-transitioned, after years of sobriety and therapy. Allen’s writing often ponders the effects war has on her children and first wife . Soldiers and veterans are directly affected by wartime experiences, she says, but how many others inherit these wounds? Many of Allen’s poems thrust readers into the midst of daily chaos—whether in the parental or soldierly gaze— weaving attempts to navigate parent-child re

Middle West Press Editor-Publisher Interviewed at The Wrath-Bearing Tree

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A leading monthly on-line literary journal has published an interview with Middle West Press LLC editor-publisher Randy Brown in its July 2023 issue. In the feature, Brown reveals the origins and objectives of Middle West Press. The interview, published by The Wrath-Bearing Tree , is here at this link . The interview was conducted by Peter Molin , an established observer and commenter on the American war-writing scene in the 21st century. In addition to his long-running war-and-culture blog  “Time Now” , Molin currently writes a limited-run column for Wrath-Bearing Tree titled “Strike Through the Mask!” Molin also interviewed MilSpeak Books publisher, author, and U.S. Marine veteran Tracy Crow . The   Wrath-Bearing Tree was founded in 2015 by U.S. Army veteran Aidrian Bonenberger and others. In late 2021, the publication re-organized as a 501(c)3 non-profit . Strategic plans call for developing the journal as a paying market; literary press; writing contests; and readings and worksho

Old Uniforms, Gear & Souvenirs Reveal Stories of War & Service

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In an anthology chock-full with revealing poetry and prose, approximately 60 emerging and established military writers unpack their stories of sacrifice, hardship, joy, and laughter in uniform. Contributors to Things We Carry Still: Poems & Micro-Stories about Military Gear were challenged to capture their narratives in 300 words or less, or few lines of poetry. The Kindle e-book edition  is available for pre-order here at this link . The print edition will release Nov. 1, 2023. “Inspired by a prompt from writer and activist-veteran Vicki Hudson, the uniforms, objects, and souvenirs we found in closets, shoeboxes, and footlockers revealed not only anecdotes and war stories , but also threads of history ,” says project co-editor Randy Brown. “We discovered that stories from recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began to interweave with those from the Vietnam War , deployments to Korea , and even family stories from World War II. ” To motivate other writers, veterans, and readers

Editors Seek War Poems about Emerging & Future Tech

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Middle West Press LLC , an independent micro-publisher of military-themed and -adjacent literary projects, has issued a call for human-generated poems engaging with  “Giant Robot” technology themes. What is a "Giant Robot" theme? For this project, the term "Giant Robots" can include examples of technologies in timelines both real and imagined, and of any size or (even formless) form . Living Ships. Loitering Drones. Taxi-cab AI. Robot Tanks. Virtual Soldiers. Space Explorers. Mecha-suits. In short, any vessel for exploring themes of human-electro-mechanical-cyber interaction, connection, and competition . The working title of this project is Giant Robot Poems: Poetry About Mecha-Human Science, Culture & War . Editors of the project write: Our intent with this project is to have fun , but also to illuminate, interrogate, and challenge (via the still-human domain of poetry!!!) the ways people think about emerging and future technologies such as robots and dron

Soldier-turned-Crime-Writer Delivers Punchy War Poetry

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In a punchy collection of poetry packed with humor and grit, The Explosion Takes Both Legs: Noir Poems from the War in Iraq , former U.S. Army infantry-officer-turned-crime-writer J.B. Stevens delivers both action and insight into how Americans go to war in the 21st century. Despite the can’t-miss, explosive nature of some of his war stories, his poems are also often filled with stoic, deadpan grace . For example, he begins “A Ghost in an Arabian Desert” with ... “After we returned, We had a ceremony and the commander said many nice things, I got a Bronze Star. My mother and father and brothers met me at the base, Because my fiancĂ©e had cheated and left, And my brother brought me ice-cream. [...]” Stevens’ collection of noirish short-fiction,  A Therapeutic Death: Violent Short Stories , was published in 2022 by Shotgun Honey Books. Infused with TV and other pop-culture references, Stevens’ debut poetry collection,   The Best of America Cannot Be Seen: Pop Poems , was published i

Call for Abstracts: Craft Essays on Writing Mil-SF & Other Genres

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  Middle West Press LLC , an independent micro-publisher of military-themed and -adjacent literary projects, has issued a call for 300-word proposals regarding craft essays on the writing of Military-themed Science-Fiction and Other Genres. Editors there write: In 2019, we published "Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War," a 250-page anthology featuring tips, techniques, and insights from more than 60 established and emerging authors , each of whom tell stories involving military themes and topics . With this newly proposed project, we are aiming at similar targets, but viewed through a specific scope: how military-writers write and publish creative, genre, and speculative fiction.   For the purposes of this project, "Military-themed Science-Fiction and Other Genres" can be defined to include , but be not limited to: MilSciFi and related/adjacent sub-genres such as Space Opera , Space Marines , Alien Invasion, Space Noir, Post-Apocalyptic, Galactic Empire ,

U.S. Navy Reservist & Poet Interrogates American Heroism, Homecomings

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In a quietly epic narrative—lashed-together from the author’s life-experiences as husband and father, literary scholar, and U.S. Navy Reserve intelligence officer—Liam Corley’s debut collection of poetry, Unwound: Poems from Enduring Wars , navigates with readers previously unseen frontiers in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). With care and precision, Corley’s poems probe the dark, interior corners of American heroic ideals, marriage, family, and homecoming . In the collection’s titular poem, for example, he delivers “a poem for the other soldiers / citizens who never fired back [...]” He writes: “[...] I see you with a yellow ribbon wound tight around your chest, looking down when asked about the war [...]” For veterans, family members, and other citizens living in troubled times , Corley’s collection provides a beacon of clear-eyed reflection, assessment, and hopes for the future . However we identify—whether wounded or unwounded, civilian or military— this is war poetry for the rest