Wounds, War and Poetry: Using Creativity to Heal

Apr 26, 2017

In 1964, just weeks away from graduating from Grinnell College, Dennis Maulsby decided his best option after college would be to voluntarily enter the military. After returning from the Vietnam War almost five years later, he channeled his war experiences into various creative outlets, ultimately pursuing writing poetry. He self-published his first book, Remembering Willy, and All the Others, and received silver medal awards from veterans associations. His latest book, Free Fire Zone is a collection of short military stories.

"A lot of men came back from Vietnam, and they dealt with their PTSD in a number of ways, usually women, drugs or creativity," he says. "I chose creativity." 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Maulsby about his writing and his new book of connected short stories. 

Retired member of the Army National Guard, Randy Brown—also known as Charlie Sherpa, also joins the show.

He has spent his post-military career as a poet and journalist. After graduating from Drake University as a ROTC student in the late 1980s, Brown went into active duty and attended Army communications school. His alter ego Charlies Sherpa comes from the blog he began during his military time, “Red Bull Rising.” After spending time in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s, he became reintroduced to poetry. Brown sees writing poetry as a way to make sense of his time in the military.