African American Soldiers 1 pilots in dress uniforms African American Officers Mule Rearing gas masks The pilots doughboys with mules Riveters

The WWrite Blog

F. Scott Fitzgerald and WWI: The "Crack Up" Essays

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

F. Scott Fitzgerald and WWI: The "Crack Up" Essays
By Colin Halloran


Fitzgerald WWIDetail from photo of Fitzgerald in 1918 (top line, middle) at Camp Sheridan, Alabama where he served in the 167th Infantry, the Alabama Pioneers. Alabama State Archives.

Paul Fussell, in his seminal The Great War and Modern Memory, posits that “logically, one supposes, there’s no reason why a language devised by man should be inadequate to describe any of man’s works. The difficulty was in admitting that the war had been made by man and was being continued ad infinitum by them” (170).*

While there is much debate and discussion over the “official” definition and dates of Modernism, we cannot overlook WWI and the ways it changed literary language. Broadly, the Modernist movement sought to move away from traditionalism and towards originality, particularly focusing on a “non-logical, non-objective, and essentially causeless mental universe.”**

Because the war itself was non-logical. Even the innovative language and stylizations that propelled Modernist writings prior to the war were suddenly inadequate after the horrors the world now knew humankind was capable of.

Read more: F. Scott Fitzgerald and WWI: The "Crack Up" Essays

Writing the Story of California's Muwekma Ohlone Indian Tribe in WWI

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Writing the Story of California's Muwekma Ohlone Indian Tribe in WWI
By Alan Leventhal

LEVANTHALMemorialvetsleadAn artist’s rendering of the Capitol Dome as seen through Harvey Pratt’s proposed “Warriors’ Circle of Honor” (National Museum of the American Indian) . Image courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

In 1925, the Muwekma Ohlone Indians were erroneously declared extinct. Alan Leventhal has dedicated his life and career to correct this mistake. Here's a look at his work on writing and telling the story of Muwekma Ohlone WWI veterans, who have proved that they have never stopped living...or fighting:

I was hired at San Jose State University in the Department of Anthropology in 1978.  As a trained archaeologist I worked on a multitude of ancestral Ohlone heritage sites. However, at that time, there was scant information about the Ohlone Indians (aka Costanoan Indians) of the San Francisco Bay region.  In 1980, two anthropology students escorted Chairwoman Rosemary Cambra, who claimed to be an Ohlone Indian to my office.  After having an engaging discussion about her family and what she wanted to accomplish relative to future research on her tribe, I informed Rosemary that, although I had taught about Native American tribes at the American Museum of Natural History and worked directly with Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone tribal communities in Nevada, I knew virtually nothing about California Indians, let alone about the history and heritage of the Ohlone/Costanoan tribal groups.

Read more: Writing the Story of California's Muwekma Ohlone Indian Tribe in WWI

Yoga and Animals: Inspiration for WWI Poetry

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Yoga and Animals: Inspiration for WWI Poetry
by Jane Satterfield

Soldiers Doing YogaSoldiers Doing Yoga. Courtesy of

Ever since Jane Satterfield's father served in Desert Storm, she has felt drawn to explore the legacy of war and the ways that inheritance resonates well beyond the battlefield into our homes, our language, and the daily fabric of our lives. WWrite has the honor of posting two of her poems inspired by WWI: "Elegy with Trench Art and Asanas" and "Bestiary for a Centenary." Following the poems, Satterfield gives an insightful commentary on her creative process, yoga, and the importance of commemorating the Great War, which includes remembering animals:

Elegy with Trench Art and Asanas

The studio door swings shut and Emily instructs us
to begin in an easy seated position. Eyes closed, we begin

to check in, to be mindful of each feeling that rises. Time
to think of some intention, something as simple

as the reason that brought you to your mat—that, not the noise
rising up from Stoneleigh Lanes, the business at basement level—

thunderous, I think, though nothing next to the volley of
shellfire and mines going off in the front’s busier sectors—

strange sound track stuck in my hearing long after
I left the museum’s cool halls, since I walked the wood-

planked trench alleys of the Great War Exhibit. Overhead,
dangling on cables above us, the artifact highlights—Fokker,

Read more: Yoga and Animals: Inspiration for WWI Poetry

Dead on the 4th of July: Poet Alan Seeger

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Dead on the 4th of July: Poet Alan Seeger

DOBKINSeegerAlan Seeger, courtesy of

Siegfried Sassoon. Wilfred Owen. Isaac Rosenberg. Over the years, the well-crafted words of these poets have shaped our vision of WWI's most terrible casualties: suffocation by mustard gas, death and disease in the trenches, disfiguration, shell shock. This "poet's war" was undoubtedly one of the worst the world had ever seen and, more than any other conflict in history, we have relied on poets to help us understand its horrors. 

According to Adin Dobkin, little-known American WWI writer, Alan Seeger, offers another layer of understanding. In his article that appeared in The New York Times Magazine last week, "The Soldier Poet Who Went to His Grave With a Romantic Vision of WWI," Dobkin not only acquaints us with this poet, who also happens to be folksinger Pete Seeger's uncle; he also introduces a notion we don't normally associate with the more famous WWI poetry: war as sentimental. 

Read more: Dead on the 4th of July: Poet Alan Seeger

The Roots of Contemporary War Literature in James Joyce’s Ulysses

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

The Roots of Contemporary War Literature in James Joyce’s Ulysses
By Peter Molin

"History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." - from James Joyce, Ulysses, Episode 2

MolinJoyceHemmingwayWriters on WWI, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and art collector, John Quinn, in Paris. Image courtesy of

At the country's largest gathering of writers in 2014, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference (AWP), Peter Molin sat down with fellow veterans and war writers to talk about James Joyce's epic work, Ulysses, and WWI. Here's a peek into that conversation about one of literature's most celebrated, most enigmatic works, first published in 1918:

At AWP14, I had lunch with a hail-fellow-well-met merry band of war writers.  At the far end of the table were Roy Scranton, Benjamin Busch, Phil Klay, and Christine Leche.  At our end were Brian Castner, Mariette KalinowskiColin Halloran,  and Lauren Kay JohnsonKatey Schultz was supposed to be with us, but peeled off enroute to our Seattle waterfront restaurant destination.  About two beers in, I announced that I was reading James Joyce’s Ulysses as part of a nationally-dispersed, Internet-connected reading group.  I was about 99% prepared for that conversational gambit to fall flat.

Boy was I wrong.

Read more: The Roots of Contemporary War Literature in James Joyce’s Ulysses

Hill 145

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Hill 145
By Ruth Edgett
2017 Consequence Magazine "Women Writing War" Prize in Fiction

EDGETTphotoMother Canada Downward GazeCanada Bereft, downward gaze, at the Vimy Ridge Canadian National Memorial in France. Photo by Ruth Edgett.

Canadian writer, Ruth Edgett, won Consequence Magazine's 2017 "Women Writing War" Prize in Fiction for her WWI-inspired short story, "Hill 145." The award was given by American writer, Siobhan Fallon, who wrote the following review:

How is it that our agony has been rendered so gracefully? Asks the narrator in “Hill 145” as he gazes up at a war memorial. And isn’t this both the question, and the answer, to all art about conflict? The experiences of those who have survived war take a violent, ugly thing and try to translate it into something the rest of us can comprehend. Art becomes a way to channel epiphany and empathy into those who are lucky enough to remain unscathed.

“Hill 145” brings us to 1936, to Canadian World War I veterans returning, nineteen years later, to the battleground in France that cost them 3,598 lives. The story is amazingly sophisticated, novelistic in scope and detail, yet intimately probes the guilt of a soldier who outlives all of the friends he swore to protect. On the surface, “Hill 145” paints a rosy picture, with green fields, grazing horses, and poppies in the distance, but the reader, with awful hindsight, knows that in a few short years the evils of the First World War will not only be repeated, but grossly intensified. Ruth Edgett’s “Hill 145” strikes a delicate balance of nostalgia and impending doom, brilliantly illuminating how Vets are “well-practiced at moving between worlds” when reconciling their soldiering pasts and civilian presents. 

Below, is Edgett's masterful story, followed by an author's note that explains "Hill 145's" origins:

Read more: Hill 145


Subscribe to WWrite & More
To sign up for updates to the WWrite blog and WWI topics, or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your email address below.

"Pershing" Donors

Founding Sponsor
PritzkerMML Logo

Starr Foundation Logo