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Through Classic WW2 Movie, Humorist-Poet Explores Go-to-War Ethics

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In a cheeky critique of the classic American air power narrative “Twelve O’Clock High,” award-winning soldier-poet, essayist, and humorist Randy Brown explores what it means to be a leader or follower at war—morally, physically, and psychologically. The book is packed full of insights into military life , as viewed through the lenses of war movies, history, and the author’s experiences as a one-time U.S. Army-trained “lessons-learned analyst.”  “I started out to write 12 haiku poems about a favorite old war movie,” says the author, “but my ‘whimsical experiment in minimalist war poetry’ mutated into a ‘maximum effort’ mix of memory, media, and military culture!” TWELVE O’CLOCK HAIKU: Leadership Lessons from Old War Movies & New Poems  now comprises poems both old and new, a lyric essay about the film, and a list of resources for enthusiasts of World War II bomber poetry, history, and movies.   Brown first encountered the 1949 movie when on temporary duty as a U.S. Army citizen-so

Press Reveals Slate of 2022 Poetry Books by U.S. Veterans!

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  Middle West Press LLC , the Iowa-based business that administers The Aiming Circle community of practice as well as other military-writing projects, recently announced a forthcoming series of three poetry collections centering on or adjacent to issues of war, healing, and military service. All three titles are currently available for pre-order in Kindle e-book format. With this current slate's publication, the midwestern micro-publisher (1 to 4 titles annually) will have produced nearly one dozen books , including those with non-fiction, fiction, and poetry elements. Publication dates and titles for the new Middle West Press titles are: Aug. 4, 2022: Always Ready: Poems from a Life in the U.S. Coast Guard by Benjamin B. White . More details here: "With Keen Eye & Salty Wit, Coast Guard Poetry Book Launches August 2022"  Oct. 1, 2022: Blood / Not Blood ... Then the Gates by Ron Riekki . More details here: "October 2022: Michigan Poet-Veteran Explores Human

Poet-Veteran to Bear Witness to War & Homecoming: November 2022

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In an explosive first collection of poetry , HEAT + PRESSURE , U.S. Army veteran and Tennessee storyteller Ben Weakley explores what it means to have gone to war . In 2018, as he was retiring from the Army, Weakley began participating in writing workshops with Rockville, Maryland-based Community Building Art Works (CBAW) . The practice sparked in him a passion for creating opportunities for dialogue among “civilians” and “military” audiences through writing and literature. “I wrote these poems on phone screens in the back of commuter buses and metro trains. I wrote them in notebooks on lunch breaks at work and quiet Sunday mornings before the rest of my family was awake,” the poet writes. “At first, I wrote about combat, acts of war, and unprocessed violence. As I pushed myself further, I wanted to know more about why I had decided to go to war [...] I wanted to know what it meant for my life now. The words happened. I bore witness . ” Weakley now enjoys creating spaces for people

October 2022: Michigan Poet-Veteran Explores Human Terrain of Post-War Trauma

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A prolific creator of books and anthologies centered on Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, Ron Riekki now delivers an insightful, poetic exploration of wartime trauma and healing .  Riekki is an author of poetry, fiction, memoir, theater, and film . He is also an Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm veteran of the U.S. Navy, as well as the U.S. Air Force Reserve.  “With gusty cuts and scalpel grace, Ron Riekki is clear-eyed and unsentimental as he navigates his own human terrain back from war and other traumas. Military veterans and families of all eras will appreciate how Riekki lights his way —his waypoints may differ from yours, but our journeys are often the same,” says Randy Brown, editor and publisher of Middle West Press. In 2019, Riekki authored My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting In Extinction , a collection of non-fiction, short stories, and poetry about the Karelian- and S├ími-American experience. He also wrote Posttraumatic: A Memoir . His 2008 novel

With Keen Eye & Salty Wit, Coast Guard Poetry Book Launches August 2022

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Benjamin B. White was pursuing a career in baseball when a worn-out shoulder diverted his life’s course . After an enlistment in the U.S. Army, White ended up as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard . Established in 1790 as the Revenue Cutter Service, the modern Coast Guard is the maritime security, search-and-rescue, and law-enforcement service branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Its motto is “Semper Paratus” —“Always Ready!” Now retired from uniformed service, White teaches human resources, business administration, and college success courses from his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “ Veterans and military families of all eras and branches will delight in White’s sharp humor and storytelling. His stories of adventures and misadventures are sure to variously inspire laughter, reflection, and patriotic pride ,” says the publisher. “After all, who doesn’t love a good sea story?” Take, for example, White’s poem “Ski Boat”: I worked for a guy I would work for Anytime, anywhere …             

Poet Lisa Stice Featured at Gaithersburg Book Festival, May 21, 2022

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Middle West Press author  Lisa Stice  will be a featured poet at the 2022 Gaithersburg Book Festival on Sat., May 21, 2022 at Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland. For directions to the park, click here. FREE and open to the public , the Gaithersburg event started in 2010. According to organizers, the festival is " one of the nation’s top literary events , attracting hundreds of award-winning and best-selling authors, poets and songwriters from across the country to its beautiful park setting." As part of a panel presentation regarding poems centered on themes of family , Stice will present selections from her award-winning 2021 poetry collection FORCES . A description from the book's publisher reads: "Inspired by great works of visual art, writing, and sculpture, as well as small insights alongside her child and dog, a seasoned poet and spouse of a U.S. Marine explores through poetry the invisible forces and frictions at work in our lives .

Poetry Book Revisits, Reflects on National Trauma

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Part memoir, part multimedia experiment, part catharsis, Amalie (“ah-MAHL-ee-ah”) Flynn explores how the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 both shatter and echo in us—both as individuals and as a culture. Flynn is author of the 2013’s Wife and War: A Memoir , and is also the poetry editor of the monthly literary journal The Wrath-Bearing Tree . Her poetry collection September Eleventh grew first from a 2011 series of blog posts at septembereleventh.wordpress.com . In 2021, she recrafted the work as a random-access constellation of 130 social-media posts and companion YouTube videos. Collected and presented now in print and e-book, the work can be read sequentially, or browsed by flipping among pages. “Leave it to a poet to unlock something fresh and new in the space of ‘remember that day” stories, writes the publisher. “Here is a narrative that both invites participants to recall their own experiences of a trauma in our nation’s shared history, while also recreating the immediacies