Veterans and Civilians to Build Community Through Great Literature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 6 March, 2017 email: cell: 541-556-4368

[Kansas City, MO] – A new program is providing opportunities for veterans and allied civilians to build community together through in depth discussion of Great Literature. PLANTING THE OAR is an initiative of The Telling Project – a non-partisan, non-profit theatre organization that has staged veterans and military families telling their stories since 2008 (including Telling: Kansas City, October 2015 at the National World War I Museum and Memorial).

Funded by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, PLANTING THE OAR is an 8-week discussion group series in which military veterans and civilians will sit down to discuss themes of homecoming, storytelling, and bridging the veteran / civilian divide. In the process, they will encounter The Odyssey, Othello, The Poetry of Wilfred Owen, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, and stories told by contemporary veterans in a script of a Telling Project play.

“It can be tricky to get conversations going between veterans and civilians about service,” says Max Rayneard, Senior Writer / Producer for The Telling Project and Project Director of PLANTING THE OAR. “Veterans often feel like civilians don’t really ‘get it,’ and civilians often keep quiet rather than ask the wrong questions in the wrong way. What these great pieces of literature teach us is that veterans and civilians have struggled to relate to each other for thousands of years. As you begin to talk about literature, before you know it, you’re talking to each other and building community across division.”

Three separate discussion groups, led by trained discussion group leaders – academics, teachers, poets – will meet in locations across Kansas City: Writer’s Place, The Leavenworth Public Library, and the Central Library. Meetings will take place from mid-March onward. All reading materials will be provided free of charge. Space is limited. For more information or if you would like to participate, email Max Rayneard:

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