Reading and Discussion

Reading and Discussion

This event allowed us (vets) to bond and learn that no matter how unique our individual experiences are we all can find a common thread that connects us and allows us to understand and appreciate one another. Events like this one strengthen the veteran community by exposing us to one another and allowing others into our world.

–Milton D White, Ret MSgt, USMC.

What is Reading and Discussion?

Our reading and discussion programs provide a space for participants to engage in respectful and authentic dialogue. Through reading, contemplating, and sharing stories of unique personal experiences related to the themes of the text, individual perspectives are allowed to broaden or shift, creating a shared sense of understanding among participants.

At each reading and discussion program, participants read a series of thematically linked texts over the course of six sessions. Currently, two books may be used for reading and discussion programs. Standing Down is a compilation of short, powerful writings about military service by some of the world’s greatest authors and is published by the Great Books Foundation. Citizen: An American Lyric, uses prose, poetry, and images to scrutinize the prevalence of racism and reconsider the concept of citizenship.

Current programs:

Standing Down:
From Warrior to Civilian
by Donald H. Whitfield, Editor

Citizen:
An American Lyric
by Claudia Rankine

Learn more about Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian:

Published by the Great Books Foundation, Standing Down is an anthology that includes 44 selections, from William Shakespeare to personal accounts of the war in Iraq. The volume includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and memoirs, all powerful works of literature that give voice to many of the authors’ own experiences of military service.

In recognition of the fact that less than 1 percent of the U.S. population engages in military service, and that as a result veterans often struggle to find their military experiences understood by the public at large, the Standing Down reading and discussion program is specifically designed to give veterans the space to speak authentically about both their service and transition back to civilian life. Family members and those interested in the experience of serving in the military are encouraged to participate. Any non-profit tax-exempt organization in Florida is eligible to apply to host a program.

The application period for Fall 2017 programs is currently closed. Please contact Tyler Tarrant, Program Coordinator, at 727-873-2040, to discuss hosting a reading and discussion program in 2018. You may also read the application instructions, here to get a sense of funding and program requirements.

Learn more about Citizen: An American Lyric:

Citizen has been described as “a provocative meditation on race.” Through its beautiful use of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, and memoirs, Citizen brings to light moments of overt and subtle racism that often surface in everyday encounters. Citizen is a featured title in the NEA’s “Big Read” program. Read more about the author, text, and associated resources here.

Given both the provocative and important place that the subject of race continues to play in American society, the Citizen discussion group is designed to give participants a safe environment to talk freely and in a non-confrontational manner about their life experiences as they relate to the themes in the text. Any non-profit tax-exempt organization in Florida is eligible to apply to host a program.

The application period for Fall 2017 programs is currently closed. Please contact Tyler Tarrant, Program Coordinator, at 727-873-2040, to discuss hosting a reading and discussion program in 2018. You may also read the application instructions, here, to get a sense of funding and program requirements.

Claudia Rankine — excerpt from Citizen

Claudia Rankine reads an excerpt from Citizen at the 2014 Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 29, 2014 at the National Geographic Grosvenor Auditorium in Washington, DC. Published on April 18, 2014.


This program occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children. Video by Jack Gordon | http://www.jackontheroad.com/

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