New anthology gives women veterans a voice - Tucson News Now

New anthology gives women veterans a voice

By Barbara Grijalva - email

Women who have served our country have a unique voice, and some of that sound is now captured in a new anthology.

On Veterans Day Tucson-based publisher, Kore Press, released "Powder:  Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq."

And, just as each of us is different, so too are the remembrances of the 19 authors of their time serving our country.

Three of the authors traveled to Tucson to read their stories, and break the stereotypes.

First stereotype broken.

Charlotte Brock.

It was Captain Brock when she was a Marine.

She served two tours in Iraq.

She worked in the mortuary where American troops were brought.

Brock says she didn't cry in the numbness of mortuary, nor when she wrote about her experience.

It surprises her a little that she cried as she read from her essay, "Hymn,"  in Tucson.

"Here was a man who was no longer alive here was a soldier whose family did not yet know how he would be coming home."  Then Brock pauses to swallow hard.

After reading, Brock tried to grasp why she became emotional.

"Just kind of think about what it is that I'm saying and the full magnitude of the pain the families felt when they heard the news their loved one had died, and it's just unimaginable."

Poet Elizabeth McDonald laments the wonderful person she says she lost in the Air Force.

It's the person in her poetry who was not respected only because she was a woman.

The reader feels the intentionally spirit-breaking treatment in Her poem, "Yes, Sir!"

In the poem, McDonald writes that she had asked for training in a field in which she had not worked.

Her superior becomes so angry, he throws his heavy pen.  It hits her in the chest.

"I flinch in pain. The black ink stains my blouse. The chief nurse says, that is enough, and asks me to leave. Another military woman saves her man. Yes, sir!"

"I can only talk for my own experience in the military. Yeah, I definitely felt left out.  That's probably saying it lightly," McDonald says when she's interviewed after reading her poem.

Veteran Christy Clothier loved the Navy and says she met many wonderful men and women and had many positive experiences.

But while she defended the flag, because she was a woman, she found she had to defend much more.

Clothier described her essay, "Controller."

"It's about an attempted rape from a Navy Seal.  But more than that, it's about me feeling I lost my voice in the military.  The military is supposed to protect the country, so I thought surely, not only would I be protecting my country, but I would be protected."

There is soul-searching in the book, along with downright anger, and even laughter.

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to read it and not be moved.

The book is available right now online at Kore Press, and soon, in bookstores.

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