Published Short Works
The publications below are organized into five genres with the works therein listed in reverse chronological order. Jump to any section by clicking below:
“‘Working Through’ Societal Trauma in The Last Flight, Heroes for Sale, and All Quiet on the Western Front.”
War, Literature and the Arts 28 (2016).
The films make suggestions about the postwar lives of veterans based only on shell shock’s most visible symptoms, those viewable to the public through popular media, ugly truths blown out of proportion and made hyper-real. Available here.
“Phantom Weapon Syndrome”
American Imago 72 (2015)
This essay explores the relationship between soldiers and their weapons. It draws upon the ideas of Sigmund Freud, Phyllis Greenacre, and D. W. Winnicott to chart the evolution of the weapon from transitional object in Basic Combat Training to fetish in combat. Available here.
“Modernism and War: From David Jones to Brian Turner”
Great War Modernism: Artistic Response in the Context of War, 1914-1918 (2015)
A continuation of the discussion in “War, Witness, Modernism and David Jones’s Subversive Voice,” this chapter argues that the Modernist aesthetic emerges in each generation of war veterans as they try to make sense of war trauma and engage society in an act of collective healing. Available here.
“Temporal Prosthetics and Beautiful Pain: Loss, Memory, and Nostalgia in Somewhere in Time, The Butterfly Effect, and Safety Not Guaranteed”
Time Travel in Popular Media: Essays on Film, Television, Literature and Video Games (2015) Co-Authored by Owen R. Horton.
This chapter examines three films with “temporal prosthetics” fueled by nostalgia, functioning as ghost limbs, compelling time traveling protagonists to invent devices capable of transporting them to physical sites in the past. Available here.
“War, Witness, Modernism and David Jones’s Subversive Voice”
War, Literature and the Arts 26 (2014)
David Jones, a British World War I soldier wounded in The Battle of the Somme, combines poetry with prose, lived experience with fictional characters and Welsh myth, and employs the styles of high Modernism due to the practical necessities of negotiating societal and personal trauma. Available here.
“All Things Swim and Glimmer’: Pragmatic Conceptions of Self and ‘the old Lie’ in Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s ‘A Night in the Water'”
Forum for Modern Language Studies 50 (2014)
This essay examines one night of Higginson’s service in the American Civil War and the presence of Emersonian pragmatism, arguing that identities formed within war are tainted with what Wilfred Owen calls ‘the old Lie.” Available here.
“Reality and Anti-Reality in WWI and WWII Memoirs”
War, Literature and the Arts 24 (2012)
An application of trauma theory and cognitive literary studies to the WWI and WWII memoirs of Robert Graves, Hervey Allen, and Paul Fussell, this paper proposes an “anti-reality” where the absurdities of war make sense. After homecoming, however, the “wartime self” ceases to function. Available here.
“Combat in the Classroom: A Writing and Healing Approach to Teaching Student Veterans”
Writing on the Edge 22.1 (2012)
In 2011 and 2012, I designed and implemented an orientation to college course for student veterans. I offered a number of expressivist writing prompts to the students, and the majority chose to write about war trauma. This paper includes my critical and personal reactions. Available here.
“The Battle for Balance: Ethnography and the Creation of Wartime Self in Shoshana Johnson’s I’m Still Standing”
Kentucky Philological Review 27 (2012)
Shoshana Johnson was the nation’s first, African American female POW. This essay examines the influence of trauma and the media upon the creation of her memoir. Available here.
“The Sparrow’s Fall: Self’s Mergence with Identity in Louisa May Alcott’s Hospital Sketches”
Forum: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture and Arts 11 (2010)
Louisa May Alcott served as a hospital nurse during the American Civil War. This paper proposes that certain elements within her novel are fictionalized versions of that lived experience. Available online here.
“Quetiapine Me a Lullaby”
As You Were: The Military Review 2 (2015)
This is a poem about the difficulties associated with psychiatric medications. Available here.
“Own Worst Enemy”
As You Were: The Military Review 1 (2014)
This self-portrait depicts the point in which the veteran looks in the mirror, wondering why the person staring back at him or her won’t yield to the healing. It was, in my experience, a daily conversation, one that pit healing against feeling, as if they were mutually exclusive. Available here.
“Fade to Green”
As You Were: The Military Review 1 (2014)
As part of a Veterans Studies course I was teaching in fall 2012 I brought the “Combat Paper” project, led by Drew Cameron, to campus for three days of papermaking workshops. I chose to make this piece out of an old BDU top, fading the uniform gradually into paper as a way of commenting on the tentative nature of memory. Available here.
The Blue Falcon Review (2013)
This story is a combination of my perspective on the night I was targeted with an IED in 2005 combined with an attempt to render the insurgent responsible through fiction. The story switches between my perspective and the insurgent’s until we meet at a violent center: the detonation of the IED. Available here.
Blue Streak: A Journal of Military Poetry (2013)
So often, I’ve been asked by the Department of Veterans Affairs to pin my post-traumatic symptoms on just one experience. However, a good portion of those symptoms, I suspect, accumulated over time. In this poem, I try to articulate the slow change that occurred within me while serving as a convoy machine gunner in Iraq’s Al Anbar province. Available here.
Ampersand: The Magazine of the UK College of Arts & Sciences (2013)
I intended for this poem to be one about my Appalachian upbringing. Certainly, the “murky green” waters of Lake Cumberland and the “souless gaze” of my grandfather’s Angus are dominant, but when I looked back at the poem I found a warning about loss of innocence hidden between the lines. Available here (pg. 27).
“A Little Boy with Bananas”
The New York Times: Education. 3 Feb. 2013
This poem is a product of my first exposure to combat. I found it difficult to relay the experience through prose because of memory gaps and post-traumatic stress. But poetry seemed to be just the right vehicle for conveying the experience as I remembered it: in extreme flashes. Available here.
“The Writing on the Wall”
The New York Times Online. 1 Feb. 2013
To prepare mentally for my second deployment to Iraq, I found myself watching the murder of Paul Johnson, which had been filmed and posted on the internet by Al Qaeda. This poem juxtaposes my awareness of that threat alongside my attempt to hold true to my moral principals. Available here.
“The 51st Trans. Co. MRE Recycling Center”
The Journal of Military Experience 2 (2012)
My attempt at a story about monotony, humor, and camaraderie within a war zone, this work of creative non-fiction details “a punishment as old as war itself” and my company’s struggle against a mysterious villain known only as “The Shithouse Bandit.” Available here.
“My Old Friend”
The Journal of Military Experience (2011)
This poem depicts the inner monologue of a speaker in the act of forcing himself to revisit reminders of war. My hope was to show the pain that often goes along with that task as well as the disparity between the self at war and the self at home. Available here.
“One Night in Iraq”
The Journal of Military Experience (2011)
As the title suggests, this creative non-fiction story is about one night in Iraq in 2005. I discuss the responsibilities of being a convoy security gunner, the rules of engagement, the competing pressures of hyper-masculinity and morality, and the thoughts echoed in the minds of anyone who spent countless hours insider his or her head on mission. Available here.
“A Halloween to Remember”
Aurora Literary Arts Journal 2 (2011)
Literally my first attempt at writing creatively about the Iraq War, this non-fiction piece is about the night an IED detonated underneath my Humvee on Halloween 2005. It won the campus creative non-fiction award which inspired me to keep writing. Available here.–
“Finding Common Ground: Vets and Non-Vets Collaborate on Campus”
Veterans of Foreign Wars Magazine. 1 Sep. 2013
In 2011 I formed an exploratory committee at Eastern Kentucky University and proposed the idea of a “Veterans’ Studies Program.” This piece for VFW Magazine showcases some of my curriculum and includes interviews from both veteran and non-veteran students enrolled in Veterans Studies courses. Available here.
“Veterans and the Arts as Healing Interventions”
Combat Stress: The American Institute of Stress 3.1 (2014). Co-authored by Dr. Christiane C. O’Hara.
This article explores veterans’ therapeutic creative arts communities. My co-author provides insights into the science whereas I discuss the ethics of veterans’ creative endeavors, citing examples from throughout the twentieth century. Available here.
“What’s So Special About Today’s Veterans? The Public Way In Which They’re Healing”
Zócalo Public Square. 25 Apr. 2013
“Veterans are changing America by embracing a form of healing that just so happens to send a message, ‘No matter how rich or powerful a country becomes, sending young men and women to war will never be without consequence.'” Available here.
“The Journal of Military Experience”
Purple Heart Magazine. 1 Nov. 2011
After editing the collection of short stories, poetry, and artwork that later won national awards as The Journal of Military Experience, I reflected upon the experience of working one on one with student veterans and the emotions it brought out in me. Available here.
“Veterans Studies as an Academic Discipline”
25 Mar. 2014
A continuation of a presentation I gave at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, this essay strives to convince academia of the value of “Veterans Studies” as an academic discipline. Available here.
with Lisa Day. Poetry Editor. As You Were: The Military Review 2 (2015). Military Experience and the Arts. Web.
Editor-in-Chief. As You Were: The Military Review 1 (2015). Military Experience and the Arts. Web.
Editor-in-Chief. Blue Nostalgia: A Journal of Post-Traumatic Growth (2013). Military Experience and the Arts. Web.
Editor-in-Chief. The Journal of Military Experience 3 (2013). Richmond: Eastern Kentucky U. Web.
Editor-in-Chief. The Blue Falcon Review: A Journal of Military Fiction (2013). Military Experience and the Arts. Web.
Editor-in-Chief. Blue Streak: A Journal of Military Poetry (2013). Military Experience and the Arts. Web.
Review Board. Kentucky Philological Review 28 (2013). Highland Heights: Northern Kentucky U. Print.
Review Board. disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory 22 (2013). Lexington: U of Kentucky. Print.
Managing Editor. The Journal of Military Experience 2 (2012). Richmond: Eastern Kentucky U. Print.
Managing Editor. The Journal of Military Experience 1 (2011). Richmond: Eastern Kentucky U. Print.