Reading Matters

Bathanti to lead workshops for Vietnam vets

It’s a brilliant match: Joseph Bathanti and his new appointment at Appalachian State.

Bathanti, as most of you know, is the former poet laureate of North Carolina. He’s also a remarkable poet, essayist and novelist, as well as a superb creative writing prof Appalachian State University in Boone.

So here’s the news: Bathanti has been named the Charles George VA Medical Center Writer-in-Residence at ASU.

What exactly does this mean?

It means that Bathanti, whose signature project as poet laureate was working with those returning from combat, will again be working with veterans. He’ll co-lead (with a veteran) two eight-week creative writing workshops devoted to the healing of Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

(Read Ron Rash’s short story, “The Outlaw,” if you’ve ever doubted how hideously serious PTSD can be.)

Through poetry and non-fiction, participants will make that crucial connection between memory and the desire for healing. Bathanti will compile and edit an anthology featuring the work written in the workshops.

No doubt in my mind that Bathanti’s sensitive leadership will help to elicit balm for those who suffer.

Dannye: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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