Warrior Writers holding third annual poetry reading

  • Eric Wasileski, who leads the local chapter of Warrior Writers, reads a poem at Poet’s Seat Tower during the inaugural Memorial Day reading in 2017. Staff File Photo/Matt Burkhartt

  • Eric Wasileski, who leads the local chapter of Warrior Writers, reads a poem at Poet’s Seat Tower during the inaugural Memorial Day reading in 2017. Staff File Photo/Matt Burkhartt

Staff Writer
Published: 5/24/2019 5:18:00 PM
Modified: 5/24/2019 5:17:46 PM

GREENFIELD — Memorial Day is a chance to remember veterans of the past. It’s also a chance to look to a more peaceful future, according to Eric Wasileski, a Navy veteran who is organizing a poetry reading in honor of the holiday at Poets’ Seat Tower.

On Saturday, the local chapter of Warrior Writers, a national veteran-focused arts group that uses writing as therapy, will host its third annual poetry reading beginning at 2 p.m.

“It’s important to remember what has come before. There’s an old adage: ‘Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it,’” Wasileski said. “If we remember that young people are sacrificing themselves, we might take pause and wonder if sending more young people, in the same way, is a good thing. I’m asking ‘What about the young people who haven’t gone yet?’ as we remember the young dead.”

Wasileski​​​​​​​, 47, of Shelburne Falls, leads the local group of writers. On Saturday, he will read one of his poems titled “A Veterans Remembrance on Memorial Day,” which draws from his experiences of war during Operation Desert Fox in the late-1990s. The last two lines of the poem, Wasileski noted, are “we honor the veterans by ending war. We honor the young by making peace.”

Notably, Wasileski said the location of Saturday’s reading, at Poets’ Seat, is fitting. The tower was named by Frederick Tuckerman, a naturalist poet of local renown, who often went there for inspiration and to mull over the big questions of life — like war and peace — Wasileski said.

“We’re following in his footsteps,” he noted.

Others who will read Saturday include Doug Anderson, a Vietnam veteran from Ashfield who has published several poetry books about his experiences trying to save people as a medic. Preston Hood III, a former Navy Seal turned poet who served in Vietnam and now lives in Colrain will also read.

“A common theme of his (poetry) is darkness. He talks a lot about mud. His son was a veteran, too, and committed suicide,” Wasileski said. ”On Memorial Day, it’s important to remember the suicide victims as well.”

Andy Castillo can be reached at acastillo@recorder.com.

How to connect

Each reader will be allowed up to five minutes. Wasileski said the group will stay until they run out of words. All participants are invited to bring chairs or blankets. For more information, contact Wasileski at ericwasileski@gmail.com.


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