We recognize that veterans returning from war or otherwise dealing with traumatic, stressful experiences find significant value in putting their thoughts, experiences, and creative thinking on paper, and/or in print.

Proud to Be: Writing By American Warriors is written by military personnel, veterans, and their families.

See below for information on how to submit your work for Volume 10

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors is a creative writing anthology of poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and photography submissions by and about veterans from across the nation, and spanning generations—from WWI to Iraq and Afghanistan. It is an annual series, which was first released in November 2012. The anthology is funded by MHC, edited by Dr. James Brubaker, and published by Southeast Missouri State University Press. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of judges for inclusion in the anthology, with a $250 prize in each of the five categories listed above.

Thank you to everyone who makes PTB possible—from the contributors and judges to the editors and readers. Special thanks to Deborah Marshall, founder of the Warriors Arts Alliance, who laid the groundwork for this successful program.

Submissions are now open for ‘Proud to Be, Volume 10.”

Submission deadline is May 2nd, 2021 No entry fee, five categories for the contest, $250 prize in each category. 

Categories include; Short Fiction, Poetry, Interview with a Warrior, Essay, and Photography.

The video above features a reading from Proud To Be Volume 6. 

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 9
Release Date: November 11, 2020

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volumes 1 – 8

For more information on Proud To Be, or to purchase Volumes 1 – 8
email Lisa Carrico at lisa@mohumanities.org.

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 1

Edited by Susan Swartwout

Winner of the 2013 Stars and Flags Book Award Gold Medal for an Anthology/Collection
Publication: Fall 2012

The anthology Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors showcases writing from military veterans and their families from across the nation, including writing about WWI and WWII, Vietnam, the Gulf Conflict, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

The volume also sponsored a veterans’ writing competition, judged by stellar writers Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down), William Trent Pancoast (WILDCAT), and soldier-poet Brian Turner (Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise). The winners and finalists are spotlighted in the front of the book.

The anthology is the first in an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in Cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council’s Veterans Projects and the Warriors Arts Alliance. The Missouri Humanities Council plans to expand the partnership to include additional organizations that are both concerned and supportive of American veterans.

Winners of the Warriors Anthology Writing Competition:

Nonfiction Winner: Paul Mims for “Rockhappy 1944-45
Nonfiction Finalists: Jarrod L. Taylor for “Sadr City” and Jimmy Castellanos for “Desert Snow”

Poetry Winner: Gerardo Mena for “Baring the Trees”
Poetry Finalists: Carol Alexander for “Rewind” and Bill Glose for “Desert Moon”

Fiction Winner: Monty Joynes for “First Day at An Khe”
Fiction Finalists: Edie Cottrell Kreisler for “Remembering Cu Chi” and Ryan Smithson for “Tap Shoes”

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 2

Edited by Susan Swartwout

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 2 presents essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, and photography by military-service personnel, veterans, and their families.

The volume also sponsored a veterans’ writing competition, judged by John McManus (September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far), Mary Troy (Beauties: A Novel), William Trowbridge (Poet Laureate of Missouri, Ship of Fool), Destinee Oitzinger (Art Director of National Veterans Art Museum), and Tom Cushman (Muhammad Ali and the Greatest Heavyweight Generation). The winners and finalists are spotlighted in the front of the book.

The anthology is the second in an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council’s Veterans Projects and the Warriors Arts Alliance.

“The stories and poems of service and sacrifice are essential in understanding what has so broadly been termed ‘the American experience.’ For me, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors is required reading and worthy of a thousand tears.”―St. Leger Monty Joynes, veteran, Vietnam

Winners of the Warriors Anthology Writing Competition:

Essay Winner: Jay Harden for “My Metal Mama”
Essay Honorable Mentions: Jason Arment for “Grim” and Gerardo Mena for “How to Build a War Hero”

Poetry Winner: Ryan Smithson for “Babel”
Poetry Honorable Mentions: Danielle Sellers for “Talk” and Amanda Hilles for “Taps”

Fiction Winner: John Mort for “Pitchblende”
Fiction Honorable Mentions: Kathleen Toomey Jabs for “Acts of Contribution” and Rolf Yngve for “Pointed Fair”

Photography Winner: Sheree Nielsen for “Dear Kindred Spirit”
Photography Honorable Mentions: A. Sean Taylor for “National Training Center” and Amanda Cherry for “Ft. Leavenworth Cemeteries 279”

Interview Winner: Jay Harden for “Interview with a Land Girl”
Interview Honorable Mentions: Phyllis A. Robeson for “Interview with a Warrior” and Jan Morrill for “Warrior Marriage”

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 3

Edited by Susan Swartwout

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 3 presents essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, and photography by military-service personnel, veterans, and their families.

The volume also sponsored a veterans’ writing competition, judged by Daniel Simon (editor-in-chief of World Literature Today), John Mort (Soldier in Paradise and The Illegal), Geoff Giglierano (historical consultant), Bradley Phillips (professor of photography at Southeast Missouri State University), and Colin Halloran (poet, veteran, and teacher). The winners and finalists are spotlighted in the front of the book.

The anthology is the third in an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council’s Veterans Projects and the Warriors Arts Alliance.

“The stories and poems of service and sacrifice are essential in understanding what has so broadly been termed ‘the American experience.’ For me, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors is required reading and worthy of a thousand tears.” ―St. Leger Monty Joynes, veteran, Vietnam

Winners of the Warriors Anthology Writing Competition:

Essay Winner: Lisa Miller for “Still Falling Snow”
Essay Honorable Mentions: Diane Cameron for “Iambic Pentameter and the Meter of War” and Jay Harden for “My Mother of All Letters.”

Poetry Winner: Dominika Wrozynski for “Retrieval.”
Poetry Honorable Mentions: D.A. Gray for “Whistling Past the Graveyard” and Paul Hellweg for “Ghosts.”

Fiction Winner: Jay Harden for “Bramble Fire.” Fiction Honorable Mentions: Katherine Bell for “The Sulphur Sink” and Frederick W. Cutter for “Something’s Wrong.”

Photography Winner: Sheree K. Nielsen for “jimmie (pier)”
Photography Honorable Mentions: Jay Harden for “For the Arc Light Fallen” and “War’s Shiny Things.”

Interview Winner: S. Lorraine Norwood for “D-Day, Korea, Vietnam: An Old Warrior Lives to Tell the Tale.”
Interview Honorable Mentions: Casey Titus for “Interview of Vietnam Veteran Jim Lewis” and Gloria Pape Caviglia for “Epiphany of Maturity.”

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 4

Edited by Susan Swartwout

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 4 presents essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, and photography by military-service personnel, veterans, and their families.

The volume also sponsored a veterans’ writing competition, judged by David Armand (associate editor for Louisiana Literature Press, Teacher at Southeastern Louisiana University, author of The Gorge, HarlowThe Deep Woods, and The Pugilist’s Wife), Dr. Missy Nieveen-Phegley (Director of composition and assessment, Southeast Missouri State University), Jennifer Geist (professional photographer and publisher of Brick Mantle Books), Jarrod L. Taylor  (history teacher, infantryman in the U.S. Army from 2000 – 2009.), and Gerardo “Tony” Mena (teacher, Iraqi Freedom veteran, author of The Shape of Our Faces No Longer Matters). The winners and finalists are spotlighted in the front of the book.

The anthology is the fourth in an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council’s Veterans Projects.

Winners of the Warriors Anthology Writing Competition:

Fiction Winner
No Travel Returns by Christopher Lyke

Fiction Honorable Mention
The War Within by Scott Owen
Four Shots and Three Funerals by dutch franz

Essay Winner
That Which Is Unforgotten: Combat Trauma, Grief, and the Need for Remembrance by David Chrisinger

Essay Honorable Mention
Korea 1951—Marines Don’t Cry by Leonard J. Adreon
Da Nang ‘Dust Off’ Diary by Robert B. Robeson

Interview Winner
Finding My Way Home by Victoria Otto Franzese

Interview Honorable Mention
Korean War Vignettes: Stories Behind the Scars by Jim Gilstrap
The Hearts Within the Military by Tia Mitchell

Poetry Winner
nights by Nicholas J. Watts

Poetry Honorable Mention
Jay by Bryan D. Nickerson
A Radio-Telephone Operator Writes Haiku by Charlie Sherpa

Photography Winner
Planning For Peace by Jay Harden

Photography Honorable Mention
Missing My Father by Russell Nielsen
Relay by Jeremy Warneke

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 5

Edited by Susan Swartwout

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 5 presents essays, fiction, poetry, interviews, and photography by military-service personnel, veterans, and their families.

The volume also sponsored a veterans’ writing competition, judged by Dr. Adam Criblez (director of the Center for Regional History, Southeast Missouri State University), Fred Lynch (photographer, Southeast Missourian newspaper), Terry Lucas (co-executive editor of Trio House Press, son of WWII veteran, and author of poetry collections If They Have Ears to HearIn This Room, and Dharma Rain), Dixon Hearne  (author of Delta Flats: Stories in the Key of Blues and HopeFrom Tickfaw to Shongaloo, and Plantatia: High-Toned and Lowdown Stories from the South), and Dr. Susan Kendrick (associate professor of English and chairperson of the Department of English at Southeast Missouri State University). The winners and finalists are spotlighted in the front of the book.

The anthology is the fifth in an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council’s Veterans Projects.

Winners of the Warriors Anthology Writing Competition:

Essay Winner
“Section 60”—winner Jarrod L. Taylor

Essay Honorable Mention
The Massillon Boys by Ken McBride
The Forgotten War: A Personal Reflection on the Korean War by Leonard Adreon

Photography Winner
Always Time For Chai— by A. Sean Taylor
Innocence Reflected  by Jarrod L. Taylor
Forgiven Too by Journey Carolyn Collins

Poetry Winner
Questions Raised by Black Scorpions— by Bill Glose

Poetry Honorable Mention
Runaway Slave by Bryan D. Nickerson
First Blood by Milton J. Bates

Fiction Winner
A Bird— by Tessa Poppe

Fiction Honorable Mention
Into Dust by Kyle Larkin
Bottle Rockets and Bad Memories by Jason Arment

Interviews Winner
90 Minutes— by Caleb Nelson

Interviews Honorable Mention
Interview: Preserving a Dying Legacy by Casey Titus
Interview with Major (R) Jonathan Silk by David Chrisinger

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 6

Edited by James Brubaker

The volume also sponsored a veterans’ writing competition, judged by Dr. Jenny Yang Cropp (author of the poetry collection String Theory, Assistant Professor at Southeast Missouri State University), Justin Dambach (photographer and videographer), Brandon Hobson (Pushcart Prize winner and author of Where the Dead Sit Talking), Dr. Joel P. Rhodes (Professor of History at Southeast Missouri State University), and Amanda Woods (Acting Director of the Office of Military and Veterans Services at Southeast Missouri State University). The winners and finalists are spotlighted in the front of the book.

The anthology is the sixth in an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council’s Veterans Projects.

Winners of the Warriors Anthology Writing Competition:

Fiction Winner
“Thanks for Your Service” by Mark Hennion 

Fiction Honorable Mention
“Homage to Shamu” by Matthew Alexander Burrell
“They Wanted Food” by Jason Poudrier

Poetry Winner
“Academy Barracks 5:00am, Tuesday, mid-February” by Ian Tyson

Poetry Honorable Mention
“Army SMART Book: This Page Left Blank Intentionally” by Karen Skolfield
“Dear Wadih Sa’adeh” by Lisa Stice

Photography Winner
“An Education in Fear” by Jarrod L. Taylor 

Photography Honorable Mention
“Role Model for a Young Girl (Poland)” by A. Sean Taylor
“Fallujah*009” by Billy Jenkins

Interviews Winner
“Emergency Landings: An Interview with WWII Pilot Irwin A. Stavin” by Bill Glose

Interviews Honorable Mention
“Living In-Between” by Lauren B. Stevens
“The Path” by Charles Jacobson

Essays Winner
“Going Home” by Billy Jenkins

Essays Honorable Mention
Baggage by Charity Winters
“The Reluctant Voyeur” by Doug Elwell

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 7

Edited by James Brubaker

The volume also sponsored a veterans’ writing competition, judged by Emma Bolden (author of the poetry collections House Is an Enigmamedi(t)ations, and Maleficae), Seth Wade (BFA Universtiy of Dayton, MFA University of Cincinnati), Ron Austin (author of the forthcoming story collection Avery Colt is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar), Missy Phegley (Director of Composition at Southeast Missouri State University), and Philip MacKenzie (MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a PhD from the University of South Dakota). The winners and finalists are spotlighted in the front of the book.

The anthology is the seventh in an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council’s Veterans Projects.

Winners of the Warriors Anthology Writing Competition:

Fiction Winner
“Gurkha!!” by Cynthia Teramae

Fiction Honorable Mention
“Half Moon” by Jessica Evans
“Rose’s Blink” by Ken McBride

Poetry Winner
“Kitchen Firefight” by Michael Eaton

Poetry Honorable Mention
“The Ground Truth” by Randy Brown
“Desert Rain” by Ryan Stovall

Photography Winner
“Patrolling the Arghandab” by Breanne M. Pye

Photography Honorable Mention
“Desert March” by Bill Glose
“Reunited” by Billy Jenkins 

Interviews Winner
“Haven in the Jungle” by Nancy Brewka-Clark

Interviews Honorable Mention
“Vietnam Vignettes: The Trauma and the Therapy” by Billie Holladay Skelley
“Raymond’s Journey” by Rod Martinez

Essays Winner
“Georgia on My Mind” by Lauren Stevens

Essays Honorable Mention
“Accidental American” by Shane Griffin
“What it Means to Serve” by Bill Glose

Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 8

Edited by James Brubaker

The volume also sponsored a veterans’ writing competition. The winners and finalists are spotlighted in the front of the book.

The anthology is the eighth in an annual series published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in cooperation with the Missouri Humanities Council’s Veterans Projects.

Winners of the Warriors Anthology Writing Competition:

Fiction Winner
“Artificial Reef” by Robert Morgan Fisher

Fiction Honorable Mention
“How to Schedule a Nervous Breakdown” by Amie Charney
“Sacrifice and Service” by William Watkins Jr.

Poetry Winner
“What the Bomb Wants” by Bill Glose

Poetry Honorable Mention
“The Blue Angels at Naval Air Station Jacksonville” by Aaron Wallace
“The Watch” by Wes Smith

Photography Winner
“Sugar Rush” by Bree Pye

Photography Honorable Mention
“Day Job” by T.S. Johnson
“Documenting Work on the Saigon River” by James Rifenbar

Interviews Winner
“Keith Eugene Fiscus: A Life of Service” by Billie Holladay Skelley

Essays Winner
“Broken Ribs” by Kristin Otero

Essays Honorable Mention
“Hindrance” by Jessica Granger
“Like You Mean It” by Bree Pye

“After all this time, Michael finally shared his story of Vietnam, over the past year since Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors was published . . . [He] has opened up more to me about Vietnam than he has in our 39 years of marriage. Perhaps after reading what others shared, he feels it is now okay for him to do so as well. History will always be written by professionals, but a personal story of what a man experienced in his lifetime is priceless for our future generations.”

Michele Boyle, wife of Michael Boyle, Marine Corps Vietnam Combat Veteran