Writers of the newly published book Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, edited by Maxine Hong Kingston, will be reading and signing books at The Bookstore in Lenox this Saturday, October 21, at 5 p.m. Phil Johnson of Great Barrington and Fred Marchant of Boston will read selections from this collection of creative, redemptive storytelling spanning five wars and written by those most profoundly affected by it.
For more than 12 years, National Book Award-winning author Maxine Hong Kingston has led writing-and-meditation workshops for veterans and their families. The contributors to this volume–combat veterans, medics, and others who served in war as well as draft resisters, deserters, and peace activists–are part of this community of writers working together to heal the trauma of war through art.
Phil Johnson served in the U.S. Air Force medical corps from 1962 to 1968. He worked in psychiatric and medical wards in Air Force hospitals in New Jersey and California, helping to treat the increasing numbers of persons who came back wounded physically and emotionally from the Viet Nam War. Johnson’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines. He has read his work in the San Francisco Bay area, and at the Poetry Project and the Zinc Bar series in New York City. In 2003 his play Outskirts of Nowhere was given a staged reading by actors at the Flea Theater in lower Manhattan. He hosts a radio program featuring spoken word and music across cultures on WBCR 97.7 FM in Great Barrington, MA.
Fred Marchant enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968 so that he could go to Viet Nam and be, as he imagined it, a writerly witness to that war. He was a young poet, just out of college, and thought it was his special fate and duty to do so. Two years after enlisting, Marchant formally declared his conscientious objection to the war in Viet Nam and to all wars. He became one of the first Marine officers ever to be discharged as a conscientious objector. It took him 20 years of writing before his experience as a C.O. made it into his poetry. He has since published three books of poetry, and he is a Professor of English at Suffolk University in Boston where he directs the Creative Writing Program and the Poetry Center.
Mr. Johnson and Mr. Marchant will be joined in the reading by Matt Tannenbaum.
The Bookstore is located at 11 Housatonic Street in Lenox. For more information, call Matt Tannenbaum at 413-637-3390.