Veterans find some peace in poetry workshops

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By afba.com

Many veterans find discussing their war experiences difficult. Perhaps writing about them instead could provide some relief. That’s the hope of cowboy poet Vess Quinlan, who took advantage of last month’s 32nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada to address a workshop of combat veterans and their families about sharing their stories.

Quinlan is not a veteran himself, The Associated Press reported, but poems received from Vietnam veterans – men who thought Quinlan could identify with their struggle based on his writings about fighting with polio – persuaded him to reach out to veterans in their life after service.

Getting veterans to trust him and begin an honest conversation is the workshop’s biggest challenge, Quinlan told the AP.

“It takes an hour before people start understanding what we’re doing and that we’re not there to get anything from them,” he said.

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