Returned from Afghanistan, Oklahoma War Poet Wrestles with Parenthood

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 relationships both present and past, wrestling with grief and guilt, but also growing in hope toward stability and healing.

She has completed her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, where she now teaches English composition. Allen’s earlier work, a poetry chapbook titled Approaching Valhalla, was published in 2022 by Bottlecap Press.

Her poetry and creative non-fiction have appeared widely on-line and in print, in venues such as Consequence, Carmina Magazine, Apocalypse Confidential, Press Pause, New Note, and elsewhere.

Launching Oct. 10, 2023:

Paying for Gas with Quarters: a Parent’s Odyssey in Poems (96 pages, Middle West Press LLC), 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.

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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