Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pushcart Prize Nom for 'FOB Haiku' Poet

The non-profit Veterans Writing Project publishes both an on-line and quarterly print literary journal titled "O-Dark-Thirty." Editors there recently included in their nominations to the 2018 Pushcart Prize a poem by Randy Brown. Brown's poem "Airman, Second Grade" was published in their Summer 2017 "O-Dark-Thirty"—a special edition that focused on a theme of "identity."

A digital copy of that issue can be accessed FREE as a PDF at this link.

The Pushcart Prize annually seeks the best poems, essays, and short fiction, as nominated by small press publishers and literary journals.

It is Brown's second Pushcart nomination. In 2016, his work "fighting seasons" was nominated by the War, Literature & the Arts Journal. That work also appears in his collection "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire."

The poem "Airman, Second Grade" regards the poet's experiences growing up in an active-duty U.S. Air Force family:
Airman, Second Grade

This is where
you ask me where I’m from.

And this is where
I tell you that my family and I
are in the Air Force.

Focused as a death-ray lens
on the playground ants below, you suddenly blaze
that my pants are on fire.

I do not understand why.
I know, just as the sky is blue:
My family is in the Air Force.

I have already moved four times
that I can remember. Each address
has been a new bicycle, and learning to pedal

through conversations like this one.
Kids can’t be in the Air Force, you laugh.

I burn, my face hot. My eyes sting.

But I get it now:
I am not from around here
and you are not

one of us.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

New War Poetry from Eric 'Shmo' Chandler

In a new collection of poetry about life and war as a pilot, parent, and outdoor sports enthusiast, Northeastern Minnesota author Eric “Shmo” Chandler delivers plenty in laughs and love—of family, of country, and of navigating one’s place in the world. Whether soaring at 40,000 feet, or carefully considering the flowers he encounters by the trail, his words are rich with insight and humor.

Published this week by Middle West Press LLC, "Hugging This Rock: Poems of Earth & Sky, Love & War" (116 pages, trade paperback) is now available in a $9.99 print edition, as well as a $5.99 e-book via Amazon.

A cross-country skier, marathon runner, and former F-16 fighter pilot, Chandler is also author of the 2013 collection of essays "Outside Duluth," and the 2014 military-themed novella "Down In It." His fiction, non-fiction, and award-winning poetry have appeared widely both on-line and in print. He blogs at:

Chandler is a two-time winner of the Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Writing Award administered by the on-line literary journal Line of Advance. He is a member of the Lake Superior Writers organization, the Outdoor Writers Association of America, and the Military Writers Guild.

A 1989 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Chandler retired after a 24-year military flying career with the U.S. Air Force and the Minnesota Air National Guard. He is a veteran with three deployments to Saudi Arabia for Operation Southern Watch; three deployments to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom; and one to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. He flew over 3,000 hours and 145 combat sorties in the F-16.

Now a commercial airline pilot, Chandler lives in Duluth, Minnesota with his wife, two children, and a rescued dog named Leo.

Middle West Press LLC is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, fiction, journalism, and poetry. As an independent micro-press, we publish from one to four titles annually. Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Poem: 'what sacrifice has been'

This poem by Randy Brown originally appeared in "Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Vol. 1," published in 2012 by Southeast Missouri State University Press. It also appeared in "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire," Middle West Press LLC, 2015:

what sacrifice has been

in airports, well-traveled souls
confuse boots with heroes
and buy us sandwiches
while flat-talking boxes buzz

with bullet-lists and mug-shots of the fallen:
3-second shrines
to soldiers they will never know
like you

this war is on us,
they want to say
thanks for your service
have a nice day

they elevate our routine dead
with casual regard and separate
us from them
with unsustaining praise

they do not grasp our names are found
on medals and on stones
and on the lips of friends who’ve seen
what sacrifice has been