Writers' Corner

Pamela Hart

2013 Poetry

Author's Statement

My new work probes the seams of family, community, and the military, exploring this overlooked territory through oral histories, interviews, newspaper accounts, and personal experiences. I've been reading Sun Tzu and Clausewitz. I joined the Red Cross Military Families Support Group. Other investigations have ranged from attending performances of ancient Greek plays adapted for veterans and families to mentoring writers for the Afghan Women's Writing Project. A grant from the NEA will give me time and funding for travel, further research, and writing. Importantly, the grant gives me courage. A group of distinguished poets has endorsed my writing and my project. This is huge and affirming and humbling. I will honor the opportunity given by the NEA as I write. I thank you for the recognition.

In the Red Cross Parking Lot After a Meeting on PTSD

What about your son, Nancy
Flannigan wonders, but really

she wants to talk about her son
Tom in Afghanistan

who never got with the program
six-two, on the swim team

until he was kicked out of high
school, has trouble with rules

which is how she explains
his wild streak, there's his hat

on the dashboard
Tom, she insists

won't make a career of this
Her hand brushes the dark

as spotlights halo the white-domed
rescue vehicles around us

Next door someone shouts
further off traffic glowers

along the expressway. Nancy
sends care packages, the good

socks, how to get them on the cheap
the rifle bolt she bought him

it's expensive, doesn't jam or clog
Tom's sergeant killed, will Tom get

with the program, her words
rocketing on and on in the night

We're like the Spartan women
how we send them off, the shields

we compare and polish
in the concrete firmament

(with permission of O-Dark-Thirty, Journal of the Veterans Writing Project)

Pamela Hart is writer-in-residence at the Katonah Museum of Art where she directs an arts in education program called Thinking Through Art: Young Writers & Artists. Her chapbook, The End of the Body, was published in 2006 by Toadlily Press. In 2010, she was named inaugural poetry fellow at the SUNY Purchase College Writers Center. She received an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in 2004. Her poetry has been published in various print and online journals, including Lumina, The Cortland Review, BigCityLit.com, Rattapallax, the Cider Press Review, qarrtsiluni and others. In addition, she serves as a mentor for the Afghan Women's Writing Project.

Photo by Steve Rago