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Military Veterans Attend HPMEC Writing Retreat


PIGGOTT, Ark. — Nine talented writers came together recently to hone their skills and to form a community in Northeast Arkansas at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum & Educational Center (HPMEC) writing retreat for military veterans.

The weekend retreat, held at the site where Ernest Hemingway penned much of his iconic war novel A Farewell to Arms, was funded through a partnership with the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. Rob Lamm, professor of English at Arkansas State, served as mentor for the retreat. A mentor at other HPMEC retreats, Lamm said, “These are very special people-veterans from many branches of service who share a love of literature. Ernest Hemingway would have been impressed by their writing talents.  

“Even more, he would admire their courage, as some chose to revisit the drama and trauma of their experiences by writing memoirs, fiction and poetry. Courage was the unstated, yet ever-present theme, of the retreat. Some writers recalled battles we associate with war. Others wrote of battles for social acceptance and struggles with personal demons.”

Writers began each day with exercises to get started, often looking at samples of Hemingway’s writing as models for their own. They enjoyed lunch together at the educational center and ended the afternoon with a group meeting to reflect, share and discuss the processes used by each writer.

Between formal meetings, the writers had time to work individually, often in the same rooms where Hemingway wrote. The format allowed writers time to focus on their own creative interests, to receive feedback on their work and to form relationships with other writers.

Writers’ retreats for general audiences are held twice annually at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott. The next retreat is scheduled for Monday through Friday, Nov. 7-11, with Andrea Hollander of Portland, Ore., serving as mentor. Contact the museum for more information at (870) 598-3487 or email HPMEC director Dr. Adam Long, at adamlong@astate.edu.


Rob Lamm
Dr. Rob Lamm