Some great news today: Line of Advance, a nonprofit literary journal founded by three veterans of the war in Afghanistan, wrote me this morning to say I poem I wrote inspired by stories of my Lolo during World War II is a winner in the 2020 Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Awards. The poem will be published online in September and in print in October in an anthology called Our Best War Stories.
I have always been proud of my family members’ military service, my uncle Raymond, killed in action in World War II, and my Lolo, father, and Uncle Tony — all three of them West Point grads. You can read a little bit more about my Lolo in a previous post.
Now I am also proud to be among the first group of civilians to be honored with this award, for both poetry and prose. This year was the first year military family members were invited to submit to the annual contest. I’m glad they expanded who is eligible. When you are part of a military family, a lot of your daily life is defined by the military experience—everyday things like where you live, where you shop, changes in schools and places of worship.
Thank you to Line of Advance, editor Christopher Lyke, and guest judge Katey Schultz, and congratulations to all the winners!
Among the winners, here are all the prize-winners in my category: poetry by a military family member:
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, of which I am a member, has just announced the winners of the 42nd annual Rhysling Awards for best speculative poems of the year.
The winners were selected in two categories, Long Form and Short Form Poems, which were nominated by the members of the organization. From 67 publications. 77 poems in the Short Form category and 49 poems in the Long Form category were reviewed for almost 16 weeks by the membership, which includes award-winning educators, scholars, and poets from a diverse range of literary traditions and specializations. This year, the membership selected the following winners (links to the poems included where possible):
Check it out: I’m one of fifteen people who recently took part in the New York State Writers Institute Community Writers Workshop and will complete the poetry course with a public reading at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 8, at Troy Kitchen, 77 Congress St.
The event is free and open to the public, and marks the first time that NYS Writers Institute workshop participants will give a public reading.
We rescued Vesta when she was 7 years old in 2009. She never liked having her photograph taken (she often ducked her head or walked away when a camera came out), so this is a rare portrait of her sitting calmly. We named her Vesta, the Roman goddess of hearth, home and family, for she was the warm center of our home life. Though we most often called her “Vesta,” and we didn’t correct people when they called her “Vespa,” we also called her “Vester,” “Vestela,” “Vesta-girl,” “Wag-a-muffin,” “Good girl,” “Little One,” “Wagster,” and many more. And though these words can’t say enough, she was a good dog, a close companion, and loving friend.
The poem was originally published in the Mithila Review along with a video produced by Salik Shah that includes my voice reading the poem. The Rhysling nomination means the poem will be published again, this time in The 2018 Rhysling Anthology of all nominated poems.
I guess it could seem silly, how fascism works—from the micro to the macro—that seven reasonable terms would become forbidden for the CDC to use. That’s the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The Atlanta-based federal agency that the U.S. turns to when during vulnerable times, when there’s a need for evidence-based and science-based research so that the diversity of the whole population can stay safe from things like Zika virus or an Ebola outbreak or zombies (see also: Season 1 of The Walking Dead; and Max Brooks’ World War Z).
These are the seven words, as reported by The Washington Post, that the Trump Administration is forbidding policy analysts at the CDC from using: