Writing Trauma: A Workshop for Veterans and their Families
Writing Trauma: A Workshop for Veterans and their Families is designed to help veterans and their families take charge of traumatic memories, lessening the control those memories may exert.
Describing the workshop, facilitator Bruce Wiegl wrote, “Writing about personal trauma is a difficult thing to do, but almost 30 years of experience working with veterans of several wars has taught me that it is also a powerful tool that can be restorative and even life-saving. To accomplish this, and introduce you to this idea, we’ll all participate in an exercise designed to put you in the position to take charge of your traumatic memories so that they no longer have control over you. We’ll also focus on making the writing of these traumas a literary and artistic problem rather than an emotional problem.”
Joseph Bathanti, former North Carolina poet laureate and professor of creative writing, shared his thoughts about Weigl and the power of his workshop: “To my mind, Bruce Weigl is the most prominent, the most searing, soldier who came home from that (the Vietnam War) and starting writing poems. As Weigl states in his best-selling prose memoir, ‘The Circle of Hanh,’ ‘The paradox of my life as a writer is that the war ruined my life and in return gave me my voice.’ I find that in so many writers’ work, those just getting started, and those as decorated as Weigl, that the very experiences that haunt, even scar, them are precisely the stories that ultimately liberate them. I’ve certainly seen that up close, and in breathtaking ways, with the combat veterans I’ve personally taught in writing workshops.”
Parking is free on campus after 5 p.m. We recommend the Library Parking Deck on College Street (from King Street, turn down College Street at the First Baptist Church). To reach the Student Union, cross College Street and follow the walkway between the chiller plant and the University Bookstore, passing the Post Office and entering the Student Union on the second floor. For further parking information or a map, please see http://parking.appstate.edu.
About Bruce Weigl
Soon after turning eighteen, Bruce Weigl enlisted in the Army and served in Vietnam for one year, beginning in December 1967. He was awarded the Bronze Star and returned to his hometown of Lorain, Ohio, where he enrolled in Lorain County Community College. As Weigl states in his best-selling prose memoir, The Circle of Hanh (2000), “The paradox of my life as a writer is that the war ruined my life and in return gave me my voice.” Weigl earned his BA at Oberlin College, his MA at the University of New Hampshire, and his PhD at the University of Utah.
Weigl is the author or editor, translator or co-translator of over twenty books of poetry, criticism, and memoir, including The Abundance of Nothing (2012), which was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, The Unraveling Strangeness (2002), Archeology of the Circle: New and Selected Poems (1999), After the Others (1999), and Song of Napalm (1988), which was also nominated for a Pulitzer. He has also written several collections of critical essays, has published translations of Vietnamese and Romanian poetry, and has also edited or co-edited several anthologies of war poetry, including Writing Between the Lines: An Anthology on War and Its Social Consequences (1997) and Mountain River: Vietnamese Poetry from the Wars, 1948–1993; A Bilingual Collection (1998). Weigl’s own poetry has been widely anthologized, including in Best American Poetry (1994), The Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets (1985), Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness (1993), and American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets (2006).
Weigl is past president of the Associated Writing Programs, chaired the judging panel in poetry for the National Book Award. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Robert Creeley Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Poet’s Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and two Pushcart Prizes. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Yaddo Foundation.and the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry. In 2010 Weigl received the Peace Medal from the Vietnamese Writers Association.
After teaching at Penn State for many years, Weigl returned to Lorain County Community College where he is currently Distinguished Professor in Arts and Humanities and directs the Creative Writing Institute.
Weigl also serves as the 2016-17 Rachel Rivers-Coffey Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University.
Many thanks to the following partners and sponsors: the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance; the Office of Academic Affairs; the College of Arts and Sciences; the Office of the Provost; the Military Affairs Committee; the Department of English; the Office of Multicultural Student Development; the University Bookstore and The New Public House & Hotel.