25 March 2015

Press Seeks Non-fiction on Coming Home from War

Publishers at Hudson Whitman, the small press of the distance-learning institution Excelsior College, Albany, N.Y., are seeking non-fiction stories from military service members, veterans, family members, and friends on a theme of "Coming Home: The Personal Aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan." Word count is 1,000 to 6,000. Deadline is May 1, 2015.

Writers whose works appear in the anthology, to be published in spring 2016, will each receive $200, publication, and two contributors' copies.

The anthology project is headed by Dario DiBattista, a U.S. Marine veteran of the Iraq War, and non-fiction editor of the Veterans Writing Project's "O-Dark-Thirty" journal.

The call for submissions reads, in part:
As part of a Memorial Day speech in 1884, Oliver Wendell Holmes [Jr.], veteran of the Civil War, famously orated:

"The generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. In our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn that life is a profound and passionate thing. While we are permitted to scorn nothing but indifference, we have seen with our own eyes, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us."

In the 21st century, as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—some of our nation’s longest conflicts—have risen and taken shape, men and women will turn to writing, as they have for centuries, to explain, to communicate, to heal, and to try to understand. Their stories—powerful, new, and necessary—will reveal the circumstances of those who served, as well as those who loved them, those who helped them, and those who stayed behind.

In the spirit of acknowledging this range of voices, Hudson Whitman/Excelsior College Press is opening a call for stories of coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the personal aftermath created by these wars. The call is open to those who have served, as well as their families, spouses, relatives, and friends.

Many popular books focus on combat—war made visible, from the outside. We are seeking stories that help us comprehend the inside, the powerful yet often invisible events that shape the hours, days, nights, weeks, months, and years after coming home.
Submit in Microsoft Word (.doc) format via Submittable here. While not required, please include mention of any affiliations with Excelsior College programs. Authors will be notified by June 15, 2015.

Questions regarding the anthology project may be directed via e-mail to: dariodibattista AT yahoo.com

18 March 2015

'Veterans Gardening Day', Cedar Rapids, March 28

An information-filled "Veterans Gardening Day" will be conducted 9 a.m to 4 p.m., March 28 at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The FREE event will include speakers, hands-on classes, a spaghetti lunch and seed packets.

The address of the building is: Veterans Memorial Building, 50 2nd Avenue Bridge, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401. The building is located on May's Island, in the middle of the Cedar River.

Army Brig. Gen. Craig Bargfrede, who commanded the Iowa National Guard's 734th Agri-business Development Team (A.D.T.) when it deployed to Eastern Afghanistan's Kunar Province in 2010-2011, will provide keynote remarks.

Other presentations will include experts and insights into fruit tree cultivation, accessible gardening, and sustainable agriculture.

Media attention is increasing noting the potential roles of veterans in feeding Iowa families through small- and large-scale agriculture. For example, check out this recent story titled "From War To Plow: Why USDA Wants Veterans To Take Up Farming", and efforts such as the Farmer Veteran Coalition.

Tickets for the Veterans Gardening Day lunch are available at EventBritehere.

A Facebook event page is available here.

After a $20 million renovation in 2014, the reopened Veterans Memorial Building is now home to the Iowa Veterans' Welcome Center, Midwest Military Outreach, and other veterans-service organizations, and contains office, exhibit, meeting, and performance spaces.

12 March 2015

'Line of Advance' Offers Writing Prizes, Seeks Art

Editors of the Chicago-based literary journal Line of Advance this week announced via Facebook that upcoming issues would reflect a change in format, and will now feature a contest with awarded prizes. The digital publication of military veterans' fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and artwork was launched in early 2014, and is currently working toward its fourth issue. Deadline is May 15.

According to the March 9 announcement, which was made on the publication's Facebook page:
The Spring 2015 contest will be for short fiction, non-fiction, or poetry under 5,000 words. The work will be judged by a panel of writers and teachers, veterans and non-veterans. First place will receive $400, second place $250, and third place $150. The top 15 stories, as determined by our judges, will be given publication in the Line of Advance journal. Several of the pieces will be displayed on our website as well. 
We are also accepting submissions for cover art. The cover art/photography chosen will also receive payment.

Contestants should submit through the website. Please note in the title section that the submission is for the Spring ’15 contest. Please include a brief Bio along with proof of military service or family relation to military service. The deadline is May 15th.
In 2009-2010, Line of Advance co-founders Chris Lyke and Matt Marcus notably walked some of the same parts of Afghanistan as did citizen-soldiers of the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division in 2010-2011. See background regarding the launch of Line of Advance at Red Bull Rising blog here. And a January 2015 blog-post by Lyke here.

Also, the Summer 2014 issue of Line of Advance was previously reviewed on the Red Bull Rising blog here.

10 March 2015

War Poet Brian Turner at Grinnell College March 12

Iraq War veteran and poet Brian Turner, most recently author of the memoir "My Life as a Foreign Country," will participate in two "Writers at Grinnell" events at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa on Thurs., Mar. 12.

As with all "W@G" events, the public is invited to attend:
Roundtable Discussion: 4:15 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 209  

Reading: 8 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101
According to his biography, "Turner earned [a Master of Fine Arts degree] from the University of Oregon before serving for seven years in the U.S. Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year [2003-2004] in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division (1999-2000)."

He currently directs the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College, and serves as a contributing editor at The Normal School literary journal.

Turner is also author of two poetry collections, "Here, Bullet" (2005), and "Phantom Noise" (2011).

A Facebook page for the Writers at Grinnell program is here.

05 March 2015

Come Run 'In My Boots' 5k April 18, Boone, Iowa

A second annual"In My Boots" 5k run, walk, or ruck march will be conducted by faculty, staff, and students of Des Moines Area Community College's (DMACC), Boone, Iowa campus Sat., April 18, 2015.

The event location will again be McHose Park in Boone. Registration fees are:
  • Individual: $25; $30 after April 3 (T-shirt not guaranteed after April 3)
  • 4-person ruck team (current/retired military): $80
  • 4-person ruck team (civilian): $100
Proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. At the event, food and clothing donations will also be collected for area homeless shelters. Through last year's event, approximately 250 participants raised more than $5,500 for the charity, and more than 60 duffel bags of non-perishable food items for area homeless veterans.

Participants will receive T-shirts and goodie bags. Medals will be awarded by age groups, as well as overall male, female, and team.

Sponsorships are also available for interested businesses, organizations, families, and individuals, starting at $100. Sponsor names will appear on T-shirts and other race materials.

The official DMACC welcome page for the event, including link to on-line registration, is here.

A Facebook page for the event is here.

A downloadable poster for the event is here.

The event will include:
5K run/walk/ruck: The 5K will be a loop around McHose Park in Boone, Iowa. Participants can choose to bring their own ruck sack or backpack, preloaded with up to 30 lbs. of nonperishable food and clothing items that will be donated to local veterans after the event. (A military ruck consists of carrying a pack weighing around 30 pounds at an alternating run and walk pace for about 5km to 15km. It is part of soldier basic training and a standard test of soldier endurance.) 
Shadow Run: A shadow run with soldiers from units around the world will be held in conjunction with our event. Join "Team Taylor" to run with Capt. Sean Taylor, a DMACC/Boone Professor, who is currently deployed to the Middle East.

Ruck Competition: Current military members and veterans can participate in a team ruck-march competition. Each team will consist of 4 members carrying packs weighing at least 30 pounds. The first complete team to cross the finish line together will be awarded the "In My Boots-Team Ruck-March" award and have bragging rights throughout the year.  B.Y.O.R.
To donate on-line directly to the Wounded Warrior Project in the name of the "In My Boots" event, click here.

For more information about the event, including sponsorships, contact:
  • Julie Roosa, 515.433.5215; jkroosa AT dmacc.edu
  • Nancy Woods, 515.433.5061; nawoods AT dmacc.edu
The institution's faculty, staff, and students have a history of supporting military and veterans issues, including the 2012 theatrical production of "Telling: Des Moines." Approximately 650 DMACC students are military veterans and beneficiaries using G.I. Bill benefits.

Des Moines Area Community College, a public institution serving the educational and career training needs of Iowans, is committed to the lifelong success of its students. As Iowa’s largest two-year college, DMACC offers 150 programs, certificates and transfer degrees, annually serving more than 75,000 credit and noncredit students on six campuses and in five learning centers. Thanks to college-wide innovation, new programs and affordable tuition, DMACC has experienced record growth and today is the 15th fastest growing two-year college in America.

For more information on DMACC, click here.

03 March 2015

Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater Revisits Veterans' Tales

An updated production of "Telling: Minnesota," a collection of military veterans' stories presented by the veterans themselves, will return to Guthrie Theater's Dowling Studio in Minneapolis, March 6-15, 2015.

Friday and Saturday shows of "Telling: Minnesota 2015" are 7:30 p.m. Sunday shows are 1 p.m.

General admission tickets are available FREE via on-line registration here. Seating begins 30 minutes before curtain.

As in other Telling Project productions, playwrights generate scripts based on long hours of interviews with the veterans themselves. Then, they work with those veterans to interweave stories into a unique, 3-act stage performance.

Since 2008, Telling Project performances have been conducted in more than 30 cities and eight states nationwide. This will be the first in Minnesota. For more information on the Austin, Texas-based non-profit organization, visit: thetellingproject.org.

According to press materials, "Telling: Minnesota" features stories that:
range from capture and escape in Southeast Asia and Scud missile attacks in Saudi Arabia, to accompanying Lynn Anderson to the Marine Corps Ball, flying injured soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan, [and] repairing helicopters in South Korea and military sexual trauma in the Army. "Telling: Minnesota" is an unvarnished look at the heroism, absurdity, horror, wonder and banality of military life as told by the Minnesotans to whom these things happened.