War Lit at #AWP17

washington-monument-at-sunset-smallOff to Washington D.C.! Brad, River, and I are headed northeast for our first family trip by plane this week, landing in D.C. to participate in the 2017 Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference. Friend and fellow war lit author Randy Brown (who I interviewed via livestream video here) has graciously put together a “cheat sheet” of all the war lit themed panels and presentations at this years’ conference. For the complete rundown, visit his chock-full-of-resources website, Red Bull Rising.

For my part, I’ll be joining authors Kevin Powers (The Yellow Birds), Benjamin Busch (Dust to Dust), Ron Capps (Seriously Not Alright), and Mary Atwell (Wild Girls) for a panel discussion about the recent surge on teaching creative writing to students enrolled in military and service academies. I’ve been asked to speak most specifically about my four days at the United States Air Force Academy last fall, where I spoke with cadets and faculty members who read Flashes of War. That series of posts garnered a lot of conversation and can be reviewed here and here. Meantime, I’ll offer this teaser quote from my presentation, taken from translator, poet, and USAFA friend Tom McGuire, who writes:

“We should believe that what we do in the classroom can, in some measure, contribute to the conduct of just wars. But there is also a more immediate payoff for our work. By sharing our passion for literature with cadets, we help them develop a deeper appreciation of the value of human life and culture, an appreciation that can translate into more humane and compassionate leadership. I am confirmed in my conviction that rather than being antithetical to the military profession, the humanities constitute an indispensable component of the military professional’s formation.”

Intrigued? Want more? Stay tuned via Twitter by following #AWP17, or check out Red Bull Rising after the conference for the run down report.

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