The end of the War on Terror has left many searching for ways to reckon with their time at war. For veterans who have found that outlet in poetry, a veteran-owned publisher is looking for submissions for the third installment of its Anthology of Poet Warriors, “So Long.” 

The anthology is the latest project for Keith Dow and Tyler Carroll, who founded The Dead Reckoning Collective as an outlet for veteran authors.

“We hope it brings closure and peace to veterans who may have something to say in this medium but not sure who to say it to,” Dow said. “We hope this collection and the two previous volumes can teach those who didn’t serve about their family members and neighbors who served in the Global War on Terror.”

Dead Reckoning will be accepting poetry submissions through May 6. Dead Reckoning will donate every dollar of profit produced from the sale of “So Long,” and the previous two installments to the Patrol Base Abbate Book Club, or PB Abbate, a non-profit focused on therapeutic reading groups for veterans. 

Leo Jenkins, who served in the 3rd battalion 75th Ranger Regiment and has since turned to poetry. He’s one of the editors and creator of the Anthology of Poet Warriors. He said he’s personally experienced the benefits of PB Abbate’s events. 

“On coming together, forming groups and relationships — people who really care about each other — but also improving veteran literacy and encouraging more people to read and discuss,” Jenkins said. “We’re seeing so much good come out of there.”

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The Anthology of Poet Warriors grew from a 2018 poetry tour that Jenkins, David Rose, and Justin Eggen launched, called the Verses and Curses Tour. As it progressed, the tour took on a rowdy, almost punk-rock vibe. The veteran crew read their poetry from Boston to Miami, in anything from strip clubs to the Marine Corps museum, while opening the mic to any veteran willing to share their poems. 

In New York City, a Vietnam War veteran shared four pages of his poetry that no one had heard before. Many others eagerly took the mic and poured their hearts out, and that trend continued down the East Coast. Not long after the tour, Jenkins entered a month-long TBI program. During that treatment, he found himself thinking of the success of the poetry tour and wondering how to open up poetry to more vets.  

“I thought ‘Man, I really need to create an opportunity for more people to have this release.’ More veterans need to have this cathartic form where they are essentially coming into the public square and sharing their experiences,” Jenkins said. “I found that poetry was a great way to go about doing that.”

He saw the need for veterans to get things off their chest from their time in the military. Dead Reckoning’s anthology is a historical means for family and friends to learn about their loved veteran’s experiences at war while it’s a healthy release for that veteran. 

“Poetry has been a part of warrior culture since there has been a warrior culture,” Dow said. “Conflicts, such as the American Civil War and World War One, saw the emergence of some of the world’s greatest poets. There have been poets who’ve shared their experiences in verse from every major conflict to date.”

Submissions for the anthology can be sent through Dead Reckoning’s website.

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