CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 6, 2013 – “Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 2” is currently the headline feature on the Missouri Arts Council website at https://www.missouriartscouncil.org/. The anthology is an annual series of writing by military personnel, veterans and their families, and is produced through a collaboration between Southeast Missouri State University Press, the Missouri Humanities Council and Warriors Arts Alliance.
The book includes short fiction, essays, poetry, photography, and a new categoryᾰinterviews with veterans, including author Tim O’Brien.
The 13-page feature story, “Missouri Books Unlock the Personal Stories of American Warriors,” by staff writer Barbara MacRobie, describes the anthology as “giving the people at the heart of the actionᾰveterans, military service personnel, and their familiesᾰa way to tell their personal stories.” MacRobie includes several excerpts from the anthology as well as the story of how the whole project came into being, starting with workshops sponsored by Missouri Writers Guild President Deb Marshall and Missouri Humanities Council’s Executive Director Geoff Giglierano, then metamorphosing into the book edited by Dr. Susan Swartwout and published by Southeast’s University Press. The first volume was so successful and well received by veterans and veteran organizations that the trio decided to make it an annual series.
MacRobie’s article also announces another project that will be published by Southeast Missouri State University Press through a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council: the Military-Service Literature Series, with publication of an annual full-length book by an individual author. The series will focus on writing by military-service personnel and veterans rather than strictly historical analysis. The first book in the series, “The Shape of Our Faces No Longer Matters: Poems,” by decorated Iraqi Freedom veteran Gerardo “Tony” Mena, will be released in February 2014. This will be his first book.
Mena spent six years in Special Operations with the Reconnaissance Marines. He was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal with a V for Valor for multiple acts of bravery while under fire. His work has been published in such journals as Baltimore Review, Ninth Letter, Prairie Schooner Online, Cream City Review, Poetry East, Cider Press Review and War, Literature and the Arts, among others. His awards include the 2010 War Poetry award, Missouri Humanities Council’s National Veterans Poetry Competition, the 2011 Penumbra Haiku Contest, and inclusion in Meridian’s Best New Poets 2011 anthology.