Poetry Contest Judges and Advisors

Heroes’ Voices has been very fortunate to gather an extraordinary group of Judges and Advisors for our first National Veterans Poetry Contest. We are currently receiving poetry submissions from veterans all over the country.

We are especially honored to welcome the legendary poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti for the project. This 97-year-old poet, painter and activist was one the writers who became known as the famous “Beat Poets. Mr. Ferlinghetti is best known for A Coney Island of the Mind (1958), a collection of poems that has been translated into nine languages, with sales of more than one million copies. He was also the co-founder of San Francisco’s City Lights Booksellers.

The English poet David Whyte has written seven volumes of poetry and four books of prose, including Pilgrim is based on the human need to travel, The House of Belonging, which looks at the same human need for home, and his collection Everything Is Waiting For You, arising from the grief at the loss of his mother.  Mr. White leads poetry seminars all over the world, including regular group poetry and walking journeys in Ireland, England and Italy.
San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguía is the author of Southern Front and This War Called Love (both winners of the American Book Award). He is a founding member and the first director of The Mission Cultural Center. He was a founder of The Roque Dalton Cultural Brigade, and co-editor of Volcán: Poetry From Central America. Currently he is a professor in Latina Latino Studies at San Francisco State University.

Major General John Borling was a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War, where he was shot down by ground fire, seriously injured in his crash, and spent the next 6½ years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi. John Borling created Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton: a collection of poems he wrote during his time in captivity. Senator John McCain, a fellow prisoner at the Hanoi Hilton, wrote the forward to General Borling’s poetry collection Taps on the Walls.

Poet Keven Bellows teaches creative writing and is the author of two books of poetry. She also frequently collaborates on non-fiction books. Her two published poetry collections are – Taking Your Own True Name and The Blue Darter, about her late husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s. She has taught poetry to veterans on the Veterans Administration Campus in Los Angeles, and writing at UCLA’s Extension Program.

A colonel in the Army Reserve, David Rabb served 30 years in the military and 27 in the VA. He commanded combat stress control units in Iraq and Afghanistan. Colonel Rabb is a recipient of two Bronze Stars—one from the US Army and one from the US Marines. He encountered Heroes’ Voices as a participant in our workshops at the VA in Menlo Park, CA, where he shared poetry inspired by his time in combat, including the haunting Full Moon Over Kandahar.

The Heroes’ Voices National Poetry Contest offers prizes of $1,000, $750, $500, and $250. All veterans of the US Armed Forces who live in the USA are welcome to submit poems to the contest. If you are a veteran who writes poetry, we encourage you to enter the contest. If you know a veteran who writes poetry, please share this information with them and encourage them to participate. The submission deadline is April 21, 2017.

Full details are available at heroesvoices.org/contest.