The Soldier’s Journey 2019

On this Memorial Day, Heroes’ Voices is pleased to announce that 265 poems were submitted to the 2019 Heroes’ Voices National Veterans Poetry Contest by 130 Veterans from 36 states. One-third of the poets who entered the contest are women.

The winning poems will be announced on June 23 at the San Francisco performance of The Soldier’s Journey, which will feature an extraordinary ensemble of actors and musicians, including participants in Heroes’ Voices workshops. In addition to the winning poems, the performance will include other selected poetry and music, ranging from the Civil War to Les Misérables.

The Heroes’ Voices National Veterans Poetry Contest is a cooperative venture between Heroes’ Voices and George Mason University.

I found writing this poem to be very therapeutic and brought me a sense of healing that I didn’t expect. Thank you for the opportunity to share this brief but deeply personal experience with you.

The June 23 performance of The Soldier’s Journey will begin at 3:00 PM at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 2515 Fillmore Street at Jackson in San Francisco. Tickets are complimentary, and include admission to the post-performance Meet the Artists reception. Reservations are recommended. Donations gladly accepted at the door.

Special guests at the San Francisco performance include Poet Laureate Kim Shuck, whose poetry collections include Clouds Running In and Rabbit Stories, and San Francisco Chronicle columnist Kevin Fisher-Paulson.

For complete information, visit

I’m a cold war vet. Fighting health issues and depression. Poetry is my therapy. I may not be that good. But everything I write is from the heart.

Whether or not you are able to attend either of these events, please consider making a donation to Heroes’ Voices today.

Another performance of The Soldier’s Journey will be presented later in the year at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on the George Mason University campus. Information about the Manassas performance will be available soon.

I have PTSD from military sexual trauma. My poems reflect my emotional struggles resulting from those traumas.

Thank you to our distinguished panel of advisors and judges:

  • Ann Cahill – Director of the John O’Donohue Literary Estate.
  • Rick Davis – Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts, George Mason University.
  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti – Poet and Artist.
  • Colonel David Rabb – Poet, US Army (Retired).
  • Mary Shea – Poet, College Professor, Gold Star Mother.
  • Kim Shuck – Poet Laureate of San Francisco.

And special thanks to the Rotary Club of San Francisco, the principal sponsor of the National Veterans Poetry Contest,

Heroes’ Voices has been sponsoring music and poetry workshops for veterans in a variety of settings since 2014. We will soon be publishing a limited-edition booklet of the best poems entered in the contest along with works created in our ongoing workshop program.

I began writing on board the USS Cape Cod on the Aft Deck 800 miles out to sea. Writing was my escape because when you are out to sea for weeks to months on end or in a different Country feeling all alone …you really do need to get into a frame of mind to cope…

I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco on June 23!