Yesterday’s War Horse post only spotlit one small share of the vast number of veteran writers and artists, like the one pictured, charting the forever war. They’re musicians, they’re poets holding incredible slams, they’re winning Pulitzers and National Book Awards.
The current bounty has me thinking about how the presence of such artists forms an arc throughout the history we’re charting — one that likely starts with Edgar Allen Poe and Ambrose Bierce, continues with e.e. cummings and Lewis Milestone and and busts out after World War II as Randall Jarrell, Joseph Heller, John Huston — until Vietnam givesi us Bill Erhart, Tim O’Brien and so many others (now on my cutting-room floor). If I include journalists and filmmakers to the mix, it becomes a cacophony.
Why the increase? And does the plentitude of stories just release tension, or begin the process of creating dissent as personnel know they’re not alone?
I don’t know if these questions are for trauma studies,military history or English class. But I do think they’re worth tracing. And maybe we can send today’s veteran stars a questionnaire, to find out if Bierce and Jarrell really do whisper in today’s texts.