Poetic Healing: A Vietnam Veteran's Journey from a Communication Perspective

SKU: 1-932559-53-1

Mark E. Huglen (Critical Commentary)
Basil B. Clark (Poems and Plays)

Revised and Expanded Edition
Afterword by Bernard L. Brock

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1-932559-53-1 (paperback; $24.00); © 2005 by Parlor Press. 320 pages with bibliography

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1-932559-54-X (hardcover; $55.00); 1-932559-55-8 (Adobe eBook on CD; $12.00)

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Read an interview with Mark Huglen in the Crookston Times.


Poetic Healing is about a Vietnam Veteran’s pain and the healing power of words. Basil B. Clark’s sense of order was disrupted after an ambush in Vietnam that resulted in the constant ringing in the ears known as tinnitus. Clark had to accept such pain as the norm to help himself recover meaning and regain a sense of order. His plays and poems function as equipment for living and include dynamic conversations among imaginary family members, friends, and divine agents.

Clark’s plays and poems are supplemented by the critical commentary of Mark E. Huglen, who offers insight into the five phases of poetic healing. He draws upon the teachings of renowned scholar Kenneth Burke, particularly his terms for order, orientation, realms for words, and perspective by incongruity, bringing Burke closer to intrapersonal and interpersonal communication as well as to the study of suicide. Bernard Brock’s Afterword describes how Clark manages to heal not just with his words and symbolism, but through them.

Poetic Healing tells the story of the word’s power to transform pain, loss, and even desperation into their counterparts, a poetic journey that will uplift and inspire.

About the Authors

Mark E. Huglen (Ph.D., Wayne State University, Detroit) teaches communication at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. His books include Argument Strategies from Aristotle’s Rhetoric with Norman E. Clark. His articles and reviews have appeared in journals such as American Communication Journal, Electronic Journal of Communication, KB Journal, Kentucky Journal of Communication, North Dakota Journal of Speech and Theatre, and The Review of Communication. At the National Communication Association convention in 2001, his group received the “Best Panel Award” for the basic course division. He is co-editor of KB Journal, a national / international scholarly refereed journal.

Basil B. Clark (M.A., University of Kentucky; MA, Morehead State University) was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, and two Bronze Stars, one for heroism in ground combat, while in Vietnam. He now teaches public speaking, oral interpretation, theater, and interpersonal communication at Pikeville College in Kentucky. He helped develop the communication major at Pikeville College and also coaches the speech team. He won grand prize in the PART (now TheatreWorks) national playwriting contest for his play “Change of Exchanges” (1983). More recently, his story “The Town Drunk” (2001) was included in The World’s Best Shortest Stories published by Quality Paperback Book Club.

The late Bernard L. Brock (Ph.D., Northwestern University) was a professor emeritus of Communication at Wayne State University, Detroit and authored and edited numerous books on rhetoric, communication, and Kenneth Burke.


1 The Enrollment and Recognition of Pain

Turn It Off, Please
A Series of Poems on Tinnitus
A Dialogue: “Tinnitus” Part I and Part II
Commentary: The Problem of Pain

2 Reflections of War in a Postwar Terrain

Poetic Recollections of War
Remembrances Associated with Genre of War
Starkle, Starkle, Little Twink
To Choose or Not To Choose,
That Is the Consequence
Commentary: The Root Metaphor, and Reflections

3 Engaging Postwar Zones of Combat

The Question of God and Patriotism
Obstacle Battlers Anonymous
Sanity, of Questioning
Internal and External Battles
Commentary: Metaphysics and Other Dynamics

4 Burning the Postwar Terrain

The Complicated Self
The Relationships
In and Near the Grave
Commentary: The Dreadful Shadowlands

5 Beyond the Postwar Mindset

Seeds for Growth
Growing and Reaching
Commentary: Living in the Garden

6 Conclusion

Afterword: Transformation to a Symbolic Reality, Bernard L. Brock

Authors and Contributor
Works Cited

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