CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 2, 2014 – The national anthology series “Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 3” received a record number of submissions this year, with 314 works sent for consideration to publisher Southeast Missouri State University Press.
The series, funded by the Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) , is published annually and contains essays, interviews, fiction, poetry, and photography by American veterans, military-service personnel and their families. “Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 3” will be released in November.
The Missouri Humanities Council also funds a writing competition for each volume, with a prize of $250 for the top piece of writing or photo in each of the five categories. Two Honorable Mentions in each category are also selected by the judges. Judges are represented by professionals in each category who volunteer their time to this worthy project.
This year’s judges are Daniel Simon, editor-in-chief of “World Literature Today” (essays judge); John Mort, veteran and author of “Soldier in Paradise” and “The Illegal” (fiction); Geoff Giglierano, historian and former Missouri Humanities Council director (interviews); Bradley Phillips, professor of photography, Southeast Missouri State University (photos); and Colin Halloran, poet, veteran, teacher (poetry).
The essay “Still Falling Snow” by Lisa Miller of St. Louis, was selected as a winner by Daniel Simon, who describes it as conveying, “the unspeakable loss symbolized by the Fallen Comrade service in a way that moves the reader not only to remember the sacrifices of the fallen but also to empathize with the emotional toll such losses inflict on their fellow soldiers.”
Receiving honorable mentions for their essays are Diane Cameron of Guilderland, New York with, “Iambic Pentameter and the Meter of War” and Jay Harden of O’Fallon, Missouri with, “My Mother of All Letters”.
In fiction, Harden’s “Bramble Fire” was chosen for first place by Mort, who states, “In its sense of history, its encapsulation of more than one war story, and its vivid though objective accounts of agony, ‘Bramble Fire’ recalls Joseph Conrad.”
Katherine Bell of Gaithersburg, Maryland (“The Sulpher Sink”) and Frederick W. Cutter of Fayetteville, North Carolina (“Something’s Wrong”) received kudos as honorable mentions.
“D-Day, Korea, Vietnam: An Old Warrior Lives to Tell the Tale,” by Earl W. Norwood, as told to journalist S. Lorraine Norwood of Hendersonville, North Carolina, received high praise and the winner’s prize for Interviews from Giglierano. He touted the historical value of this remarkable story that compares events and attitudes in three very different wars.
Giglierano selected interviews by Gloria Caviglia of Pleasant Valley, New York (“Epiphany of Maturity”), and 15-year-old Casey Titus of Jupiter, Florida (“Interview of Vietnam Veteran Jim Lewis”) for honorable mention.
Phillips, judge of photography, chose Wentzville, Missouri artist Sheree Nielsen’s “jimmie (pier)” as the top entry. He states that, “the smooth light well complimented the large depth of field that runs the length of the pier [and] the shadows from the railing cast wonderfully unique shapes onto the boardwalk, giving this image strong lines.”
Harden won two honorable mentions in photography with, “War’s Shiny Things” and “For the Arc Light Fallen”.
“Retrieval,” a poem by Dominika Wrozynski of Yonkers, New York, was Halloran’s “clear-cut winner” of the poetry category. He praised the poem in which, “a strong sense of story-telling and flawless poetic technique combine to weave a powerful, multi-perspective narrative.”
D.A. Gray of Copperas Cove, Texas (“Whistling Past the Graveyard”), and Paul Hellweg of Frazier Park, California (“Ghosts”), were given honorable mention for their fine work.
The MHC anthology project continues to expand. Volume 1 was awarded the Stars and Flags Book Award Gold Medal. Reprints and excerpts from writing published in previous volumes of “Proud to Be” have appeared in “Humanities,” the National Endowment for the Humanities magazine; “Open Mind,” the California Humanities Council newsletter; “Missouri Life” magazine; “Focus,” the Missouri Economic Development news; the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; the Missouri Arts Council’s homepage and feature story; and has been read at the Veterans Recognition ceremony hosted by the State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, and by veteran Tony Mena twice at annual New York City PSTD Treatment Center Benefits with actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
Southeast Missouri State University Press published Mena’s poetry collection “The Shape of Our Faces No Longer Matters,” in 2014 with funding from the Missouri Humanities Council as part of their Military-Service Literature Series.
Missouri Humanities Council and Southeast Missouri State University Press plan to release a call for submissions for the next round of the “Proud to Be” anthology in November 2014 in conjunction with the St. Louis book launch of “Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 3.”