YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Books | O.C. Books

Anaheim Veteran's Poetry Remains on Active Duty


Retired Army Lt. Col. John C. Harrell of Anaheim has been writing poetry since he was a philosophy major at San Jose State in the early '60s. He simply loves to write.

But it was two decades after a 1969-70 tour of duty in Vietnam--as executive officer of a medical company at an Americal Division base--before he tackled Vietnam as a subject.

When Harrell did, he opened a floodgate of memories of doctors and corpsmen trying to save the lives of men brought in by chopper from the field with head wounds, chest wounds, burns and missing limbs.

"I wrote about Vietnam because a friend of mine who was in the service wanted to know what it was like, and the only way I could express it was through poetry," said Harrell, 58, who often assisted when casualties outnumbered corpsmen.

Harrell, who retired in 1989 after 23 years of active duty, also wrote about Desert Storm, World War II and Korea. His war poems were assembled in "Twenty Years,' published in 1992 by Lightning Publications of Fullerton.

In honor of Veterans Day, Harrell will read from "Twenty Years" and his newer war poems at 8 tonight at Alta Coffee House & Roasting Co., 506 31st St., Newport Beach.

Harrell and Navy SEAL veteran Philip "Moki" Martin, the Coronado artist who illustrated "Twenty Years," have teamed up on another poetry book, "Bold Achievement," to be published early next year by Far Star Fire Press in Irvine.

In "Twenty Years," Martin did his artwork based on his reaction to Harrell's poems. This time, Harrell has written poems based on his reaction to Martin's artwork.

"As far as we know, no one has ever done a full book like that," Harrell said.

Coming Up:

* Marie Antoinette McConnell--translator of "Agents for Escape," Frenchman Andre Rougeyron's World War II memoir of rescuing downed Allied airmen in France--will speak and sign at 7 tonight at Barnes & Noble, Metro Pointe, 901 S. Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa. She will be joined by her husband, Paul, the first Allied flier helped during the war by Rougeyron, who was eventually held captive in a German labor camp.

* Children's author and illustrator Patricia Polacco will sign "Thank You, Mr. Falker" at 4 p.m. today at the Whale of a Tale Children's Bookshoppe, 4199 Campus Drive, Irvine. She'll also sign at 3 p.m. Friday at Lorson's Books, 116 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton.

* Steve Oliver, author of "Moody Forever," will speak and sign at 7 p.m. Thursday at Coffee, Tea & Mystery, 13232 Springdale St., Westminster. He also will sign at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Book Carnival, 348 S. Tustin Ave., Orange.

* Dave Brackney, author of the "Baja California Guidebook," will speak and sign at 7 p.m. Thursday at Barnes & Noble in Metro Pointe, 901 S. Coast Drive, Costa Mesa. He'll also speak and sign at 2 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble in Fashion Island, 953 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach.

* UC Irvine professor Kristen Monroe, whose book, "The Heart of Altruism," was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize last year, will discuss why people risk their lives to help others during war at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Student Services Foyer at Irvine Valley College, 5500 Irvine Center Drive. Free.

* Children's book illustrator David Small and author Sarah Stewart will sign their books, "Christmas Crocodile" and "The Gardener," at 4 p.m. Friday at Whale of a Tale Children's Bookshoppe, 4199 Campus Drive, Irvine.

* First-time novelist Diana M. Johnson, author of "Destiny's Goodchild," will discuss "Adventures in Self-Publishing" at the meeting of the Orange County chapter of the California Writers Club at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Downey Savings, 201 Bastanchury Road, Fullerton. (714) 871-7322.

* David Harder, author of "The Truth About Work: Making a Life, Not a Living," will speak and sign at 7 p.m. Saturday at Borders Books and Music, 429 Associated Road, Brea.

* Ray Bradbury will sign his new novella, "Ahmed and the Oblivion Machines," and 40th-anniversary copies of his classic "Fahrenheit 451" at noon Saturday at Borders Books and Music, 429 Associated Road, Brea.

* Alan Bean, Apollo XII lunar module pilot and the fourth of 12 men to walk on the moon, will sign his new art book, "Apollo," at 10 a.m. Saturday at Art Works Etc., 16169 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley.

* Poets Ruthie Schwable and Diane Dorman will read at 8 p.m. Saturday in Argyros Forum, Room 208, Chapman University, 333 N. Glassell St., Orange. $4.

* Patricia Guiver, author of "Delilah Doolittle and the Careless Coyote," will speak and sign at 4 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble in the Huntington Beach Mall, 7777 Edinger Ave.

* Mary Welk, author of "A Deadly Little Christmas," will sign at 1 p.m. Sunday, and Bruce Alexander, author of "Jack, Knave and Fool," will sign at 3 p.m. Sunday at Coffee, Tea & Mystery, 13232 Springdale St., Westminster.

* Award-winning author, activist and farmer David Mas Masumoto will discuss his new book "Harvest Son: Planting Roots in American Soil," in the Manuscripts Literary Lecture series at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Newport Beach Public Library, 1000 Avocado Ave. $8. Reservations required. (949) 717-3890.

Send information about book-related events at least 10 days before event to: Dennis McLellan, O.C. Books & Authors, Life & Style, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

Los Angeles Times Articles