"I'm not a Buddhist, but I like to think I've been exposed to some of the basics, via the lives and examples of some of my fellow military veterans," says Brown. "I use this poem to remind me to be mindful and humble, to practice my craft daily and to not want too much. Basically, to take joy in small things—including our shared, flawed humanity."
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, "Robert Olen Butler wants nachos" explores the Buddhist concept of desire, through a light-hearted anecdote from the War, Literature & the Arts conference in September 2018. The event took place at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. The poem invokes the name of Vietnam War veteran Robert Olen Butler, who is author of 12 novels and six short-story collections, and was one of the event's keynote speakers.
You can read the poem in its entirety here.
In the announcement, editors at "Line of Advance" wrote: "[All of this year's submissions exhibited] care and effort and honesty. We received many prose submissions. Some were from regular contributors and some from new voices. The same goes for the poetry submissions."
In addition to Brown's third-place poem, other poetry recognized included:
- First Place: "How Could You Do That?" by Eric Chandler
- Second Place: "Good Soldier" by Sarah Maples
- First Place: "A Jeep to Quang Tri" by William Upton
- Second Place: "American Spirit" by Bruce Kerg
- Third Place: "Talisman" by Travis Klempan
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.