Minnesota Poet-Veteran of Iraq War Focuses on Resilience & Healing


In her forthcoming debut collection of poetry, The Time War Takes, U.S. Army veteran of the Iraq War, registered nurse, and mental health advocate Jessi M. Atherton explores themes of memory, resilience, and healing.

As a deployed Michigan Army National Guard soldier chancing upon a Baghdad bazaar in 2005, Atherton found what she was looking for, but hadn’t known she needed: a crystalline moment of grace. A reminder to be kind and open, to oneself and to others.

The small, pink quartz elephant was a surprise, one crafted especially for her by a young street vendor named Mohammad (call me “Mo,” he had said). On a journey of healing, the figurine has followed her ever since—through Colorado wildfires, trauma, divorce, and the daily challenges of motherhood.

Now a Minnesota-based nursing professional active in veterans and women’s mental health, as well as suicide prevention, Atherton shares stories of healing and resilience through the power of poetry.

In 2019, Atherton was recognized by Minnesota Humanities with a Veterans’ Voices Award. She has also served as a board member of the Minnesota League of Minnesota Poets, and as a workshop facilitator with the national non-profit Warrior Writers. She spends her free time running and training for half-marathons, biking and hiking, and most importantly, being a mother to three beautiful, busy daughters. She lives and works in the Twin Cities.

Starting April 4, 2023:

The Time War Takes: Poems (92 pages, Middle West Press LLC) is available in a $11.99 trade paperback edition through Amazon and other booksellers, as well as a $5.99 Kindle e-book edition exclusively via Amazon.

The Kindle e-book is available for pre-order at this link: amzn.to/3E4pUfI

Middle West Press LLC (www.middlewestpress.com) is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, journalism, and poetry. As an independent micro-press, we publish one to four titles annually. Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest.

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