Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Ranger-Poet Reviews 'FOB Haiku'

Former U.S. Airborne Ranger and Private Military Contractor Jonathan Baxter, author of the 2016 poetry collection "The Ghosts of Babylon," recently reviewed Randy Brown's "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire" at The Havok Journal military blog.

"Brown presents a different side of the Afghanistan conflict that makes this book required reading for anyone trying to truly understand the nature of America’s longest war," Baxter writes ...
[…] "Welcome to FOB Haiku" provides an original perspective into service in the modern military. Brown takes the 99% of the military experience, the boring, tedious, and mundane aspects that are so rarely chronicled, and elevates them through subtle, skillful literary devices. Poetry enthusiasts will appreciate his wordplay, metaphor use, and uncanny ear for the occurring poetry of the military vernacular. Veterans will recognize their experiences overseas and appreciate this new take on the deployment lifestyle. Anyone seeking fresh insights into military service during our current conflicts will appreciate this outstanding anthology.
A link to Baxter's full review is here.

A link to a Red Bull Rising military blog review of Baxter's "The Ghosts of Babylon" is here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Poet is Finalist in Darron L. Wright Awards

Randy Brown, author of the 2015 collection "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire," was recently named a poetry finalist in the Second Annual Col. Darron L. Wright awards, for a new work that explores the connection of a World War II-era movie actress, and the technology used in modern wireless and data communications.

Administered by the Chicago-based on-line literary journal "Line of Advance," and underwritten by the Blake and Bailey Foundation, the awards commemorate a U.S. Army leader who was killed in a September 2013 parachute training accident.

Brown's poem, "the frequency hop," mentions actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr, who first conceived of a way to prevent enemy forces from jamming signals to radio-controlled torpedoes, and a popular quote about actress and dancer Ginger Rogers:
"She did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels."
The quote is attributed to cartoonist Bob Thaves.

You can read the poem in its entirety here.

In addition to other assignments, Darron L. Wright served as battalion operations officer for 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo., with whom he deployed to Iraq from 2003 to 2004. Wright was next assigned as brigade executive officer with 4th Brigade, 4th Inf. Div., Fort Hood, Texas, with whom he deployed to Iraq from 2005 to 2006. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 509th Parachute Inf. Reg. at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La. in 2007. From 2009 to 2013, Wright was assigned as deputy brigade commander for the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Inf. Div., with whom he deployed to Iraq from 2009 to 2010.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, Wright authored "Iraq Full Circle: From Shock and Awe to the Last Combat Patrol in Baghdad and Beyond." in 2012.

Wright's full biography appears here.

"Darron L. Wright was a larger than life Soldier’s Soldier. He was a physically imposing, direct, and skilled warrior," the Line of Advance editors wrote when the award was first launched.
He was also witty, hilarious, generous, kind, and wholly consumed with love for his family. He will certainly be missed but he will never be forgotten. His intellectual curiosity, boundless optimism, and untiring work ethic, allowed him to reach heights he could only dream of as a young boy growing up in Mesquite, Texas. It is in this spirit that the Darron L. Wright Award was created, to inspire fellow military writers and poets to aspire to become better and more accomplished at their craft and at telling their story.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Writer-Veterans Featured on 'Talk of Iowa'

Iowa Public Radio "Talk of Iowa" host Charity Nebbe (left) and Randy Brown (right) in studio during a program May 10, 2013.
The writer of "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire" appeared on a recent "Talk of Iowa" program on the topic of "Wounds, War and Poetry: Using Creativity to Heal." Randy Brown joined host Charity Nebbe and fellow Iowa veteran, poet, and author Dennis Maulsby on the program, which aired Tues., April 25 and is also available on on-line here.

After retiring from the Iowa Army National Guard with 20 years of service and a previous overseas deployment, Randy Brown embedded with his former unit as a civilian journalist in Afghanistan, May-June 2011. In addition to the poetry of "Welcome to FOB Haiku," he authored the 2016 journalism collection "Reporting for Duty: Citizen-Soldier Journalism from the Afghan Surge, 2010-2011." His poetry and non-fiction have appeared widely in literary print and on-line publications. As "Charlie Sherpa," he blogs about military culture at:

Brown had last appeared on the "Talk of Iowa" program May 10, 2013.

Dennis Maulsby is a U.S. Army veteran who served during the Vietnam War era as both enlisted soldier and officer. He served for two years as a Russian-language voice-intercept operator. As a military intelligence officer, he served with the U.S. 25th Infantry "Tropic Lightning" Division. He received an honorable discharge in 1970. Maulsby is the author of multiple books, including most recently the poetry collection "Near Death / Near Life" and the short-story collection "Free Fire Zone."

Maulsby's "Near Death / Near Life" and Brown's "Welcome to FOB Haiku" each received a 2016 Gold Medal in Poetry from the Military Writers Society of America in 2016.