Local Journal is Calling All U.S. Veteran Poets
Mar 24 2021

Local Journal Is Calling All U.S. Veteran Poets

By: Laurel Shimasaki

The Cuddy Family Foundation for Veterans has announced a call for submissions for its new Poetry Journal. "We will be producing a quarterly poetry journal with original submissions from veterans and other creative minds," TCFFV's website states. "Please spread the word to the poets in your life."

Interested poets should mark their calendars for the 2021 submission deadlines, which will fall on May 1, August 1, and November 1. The foundation asks that writers send their work in the body of an email (no attachments!) to info@tcffv.org. Writers need to include their full name, mailing address, phone number, branch of service (if applicable), and any relevant social media or author links in the email along with the submitted poem(s). All subs should be original and unpublished. "While we have not established a line or word count limit for submissions, please use discretion as we anticipate a large volume of entries for each quarterly edition," the foundation says.

TCFFV is a New Orleans-based LLC awaiting approval for non-profit status. The foundation states its mission is in "meeting the health and wellness needs for veterans and others." To put their "#ActionsNotWords" ethos into practice, TCFFV has a detailed plan for assisting homeless veterans. The website states that: "Our first goal is to establish a free, multi-purpose facility that will include locker rooms with showers, laundry services, a fitness center with volunteer athletic trainers, a barbershop, a nutrition counter with volunteer dietitians, a computer room, and a store with free clothes, food, and supplies. Additionally, AA and NA meetings will be held on-site."

In 2014, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that by the end of that year, New Orleans would end veteran homelessness in response to a challenge from First Lady Michelle Obama. According to a summary by oregon.gov, NOLA met that deadline. Four years later, kgw.com reported that the city and community groups like UNITY of Greater New Orleans continued to state they had "managed to effectively end veteran homelessness in 2015," but the Portland-based TV and news site claimed of "trends that indicate the issue is very much still alive." Stolen identities, mental illness, and addiction were factors—as was a near-constant "ebb and flow" of people, Robbie Keen of UNITY explained to kgw.com. "Someone will come into homelessness today and someone will leave today."

As such, TCFFV's goal to "serve the short-term, essential survival needs of homeless veterans and others in peril, while also providing long-term sustainability training and transitional support to secure stable living arrangements for our clients," remains a necessary one.

The Poetry Journal is just one fundraising initiative for TCFFV. The foundation will begin accepting tax-deductible donations once the nonprofit status is approved, but until then, it is fundraising through endeavors like the Boston Marathon. In addition, TCFFV has an online merch store, which sells t-shirts, mugs, and face masks featuring the TCFFV logo—a red, white, and blue striped hand holding up a peace sign.

The foundation's new poetry journal has been boosted by other transformative writing programs for veterans including the Philadelphia-based Warrior Writers and Maryland's Veteran Writing Services, LLC.

Creative writing for veterans has been shown to be beneficial. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported on how "expressive writing shows some benefits for returning vets." Drawing from a study that appeared in the October 2015 issue of Journal of Traumatic Stress, the VA Research Currents reported that "of nearly 1,300 returning Veterans reporting reintegration problems, those who completed online expressive-writing sessions showed more improvements than peers who had not written at all or who had engaged only in factual writing."

In the poem "Facing It," Vietnam veteran, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, and Louisiana native Yusef Komunyakaa wrote about the enduring impact war holds on veterans. His letter to the editor from Poetry Magazine illuminated the intertwined history of war and poetry. Ending the letter, Komunyakaa called for putting poetry "back into our schools and the mouths of our citizens who may embrace life over death and destruction." TCFFV's new poetry journal is one step towards embracing life through poetry.

For more info, go to tcffv.org/poetryjournal

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