John H., Army vet of Vietnam

“I am a combat veteran of the Vietnam War. I came to the PCVI through a suggestion made to me by my PTSD counsellor at the Providence VA Hospital. She had always been trying to find ways to push me to go outside my comfort zone, and thought that taking this course would fit the bill. It was here at PCVI that I first learned that there had been books written just about homecoming. Through reading and discussion, I learned that homecoming is complicated for all parties concerned…I have learned that conflicts like war have a humanities connection. I had never previously considered the importance of prose, poetry, art and filmmaking in relation to deciding to go to war or in support or protesting war. In particular, I read some poetry written by soldiers who fought in the trenches of WWI and translated their exposure to that horror into meaningful words that viscerally described trench warfare. I hated poetry until forced, at first, to read it because it was assigned. I was fascinated by my ability to identify with the authors of that poetry, Wilfred Owen and Sigfried Sassoon. I was so enthralled by my experience that I wrote my own…during a moment of reflection on event that happened 51 years ago, a moment frozen in time for me. Me, writing a poem? Incredible, yet I did it. The format of a poem seemed to fit my sense of what had transpired all those years ago. Thank you PCVI!