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Calling All Poets

Nebraska Writers Guild Poetry Submissions

Grand Island, NE – Poets, in celebration of the Guild’s 95th year, we want you to show us your best work. You can enter up to six poems free of charge. Guild Membership is not required. Our judges ask that you please familiarize yourself with submission guidelines and links found on under News and Events, 2020 Poetry Chapbook. Selected poems will be published fall of 2020 in the NWG’s Verses from the Plains: A Poetry Collection.

Submission deadline: May 30, 2020

Calling All Designers! Are you interested in a chance to design the chapbook covers? Please contact us at for more information or submission questions.

About Nebraska Writers Guild:

What do Willa Cather, Mari Sandoz, and John Neihardt have in common?
They were all members of the Nebraska Writers Guild, one of the oldest writers’ organizations in the country.

MISSION: Nebraska Writers Guild is a nonprofit (501c3) organization dedicated to empowerment and individual growth through involvement with a community of writers and related professionals; promoting authors and the craft of writing through events and publications; and advancement through professional development. For more information please visit or

For more information contact: Poetry Chair, Charlene Pierce
Phone: 402.594.1917 Email:

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Partnership, Friends, and Gifting Books

by Oliver B. Pollak

We visited Omaha in October 2018 and stayed with Dave, my law partner from 1987 to 2016, and his wife Chris at their Waterloo lake house. We’re all retired. Their study with a sofa bed doubles as a guest room. We felt at home; the duvet and book ends came from our house. The shelves held several books Karen and I gave them for birthdays, the holiday season and other opportune occasions. I purchase several copies of irresistible books for friends. I still have two copies of The Pun Also Rises (2011) by John Pollack who did a reading at the Bookworm, and Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps (2002) by Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.

I inscribed A Mirror of the World, Three Thousand Years of Books and Manuscripts (2001), acquired at the Schiller-Nationalmuseum, German Literature Archives in Marbach am Neckar, Germany:

July 19, 2002
Dear Chris & Dave
When books matter
And cooking meet
We don’t cook the books
We eat
Love Oliver

The cover of A Mirror of the World is a 1913 galley with Marcel Proust’s corrections of “A la recherché du temps perdu,” (In Search of Lost Time and Remembrance of Things Past). The editor wrote, “Proust was among those writers who continually changed and improved their text, much to the distress of their printers.”

Silent Hills Speak, A History of Council Bluffs, Iowa (2002), by William E. Ramsey and Betty Dineen Shrier, a 7 pound 7-ounce coffee table book, would be heavily out of place in California. I shifted the burden…

To Chris and Dave
This will weigh down your carpet bag
I am sure it has many uses.
Look to the East
And lets all feast.
Love and best wishes

Karen and Oliver
December 14, 2002

Aprons, A Celebration (2001) by Joyce Cheney, A miniature from a UNO exhibition of Aprons.

To Chris 3/30/03.
Here’s to our aprons.

Karen & Oliver

A Year at the Sorbonne, A Proustian Life (2002) by Oliver B. Pollak.

To Chris and Dave Inscriptions, epigrams, epitaphs, epithets, and epitomes. You grow in our estimation daily.

Love, Karen & Oliver 4/7/06

Jim Harrison, The English Major (2008)

To Dave
The curious road ahead
Navigating between
Valentines and rattlesnakes
Seasons greetings
as 2008 turns into 2009


Dave gave a copy to his daughter-in-law Bethany, an Omaha English teacher.

The New World Guide to Beer (1988) by Michael Jackson, another coffee table book.

Dear Chris
Dare we say
Happy Beerthday
All our love

Karen & Oliver
Sept 1, 2016

Moving to California meant downsizing, shedding books. Our retirement home would not house all our books. Storage was out of the question. I sold to Jackson Street Booksellers, students and Lincoln’s Lee Booksellers. We invited Chris and Dave to browse our shelves. Chris picked The Grapes of Wrath. I wrote, September 10, 2016

Dear Chris,
I am so glad you picked this book voluntarily. The book and movie merge in my mind’s memory. It is moving. Class warfare. Climate change. People helping each other. Noble sentiment and deeds. I must have read it in the 1960s. It goes to a new loving home.

Oliver & Karen

My Budapest Diary, In Search of the Motherbook (1997) by Susan Rubin Suleiman and Dinner with Churchill (2011) by Cita Stelzer also graced Dave and Chris’s shelves.

Dave favored me with numerous books, especially at Hanukkah. In December 1995 he supported my interest in George Orwell with the Brothel Boy and Other Parables of the Law (1992) by Morris Norval. It took me until 2015 to read this thoughtful book. I went from my Orwell shelf with gratitude back to Dave in 2016. The gift of Various Positions (1996) a biography of Leonard Cohen, by Ira Bruce Nadel, dramatically expanded my musical tastes. It sits on a shelf in Richmond. Karen and I enjoyed Cohen concerts in Toronto and much closer, in Oakland.


Dave and Chris love camping, first with a trailer and now an RV. They visit national parks including Presidential Libraries. Books need bookmarks, papyrus, leather, or post-its notes. Dave and Chris bought this bookmark at the William J. Clinton Library and Museum in Little Rock.

Dave recalls we occasionally purchased books together, such as On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt (Princeton University Press, 2005, 68 pages, $9.95), which has been translated into at least sixteen languages.

Giving books at joyous junctures reveals regard for one another, friendship and shared interests; food and drink permeate the titles and inscriptions. These association copies may be on the used book market sooner than mid-century.

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Friday Reads: All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton (with Ken Gire)

Posted on February 28, 2020 by Rod Wagner

All the Gallant Men is the Nebraska Center for the Book’s 2020 One Book One Nebraska selection. Donald Stratton’s memoir stems from his remarkable experience as a naval seaman serving on the USS Arizona. Stratton was among the survivors from the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The book is the only memoir written by a USS Arizona survivor.

Stratton’s book is not one that I would have selected to read on my own. I read it because of its nomination for the One Book One Nebraska program. It didn’t take many pages before appreciating Donald Stratton’s story. It is remarkable and inspiring. The book is much more than an account of the Pearl Harbor attack. Donald Stratton’s life is chronicled from his early years growing up in Red Cloud, Nebraska, joining the Navy following high school, military experience as a seaman. Later, Stratton traveled the world as a skilled commercial diver in the oil industry.

Stratton was severely burned during the Pearl Harbor attack but managed, along with a few others, to climb hand-over-hand on a rope to an adjacent ship, an astonishing feat considering the 70 feet length and the burned hands of the seamen and the fires burning below. The rope was thrown by Joe George, a sailor from the other ship. The rope throw was a heroic act that was never fully rewarded because George disobeyed an order to cut the lines that tied the two ships. Without the rope, these sailors would have perished. Stratton had a long and painful recovery. Even so, he endured and with determination reenlisted in the Navy. Offered a non-combat post, he instead chose to return to a battleship and rejoin the war in the Pacific. 

Donald Stratton’s story is dedicated to preserving the memory of the men aboard the USS Arizona – those that died and those that survived. In Stratton’s words: “I have tried my best to express what I could about what I experienced that day. It isn’t enough, though, because it is only one side of the story. The other side lies an ocean away. When you read a statistic, like 2,403 dead, it says so little. A statistical death is only the skeletal remains of a life. Without flesh and blood; its beating heart or its winking eye; its quick wit or its contagious laugh.”

I hope that many Nebraskans will read All the Gallant Men and that the book will lead to more stories about the experiences and sacrifices of those who serve and have served.

Ken Gire deserves recognition for his collaboration with Don Stratton to bring Stratton’s story to print. How that came about is an interesting story in itself (see writer’s postscript).

Described by family members as a humble and generous man, Donald Stratton passed away on February 15, 2020.

Donald Stratton and Ken Gire. All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor. HarperCollins. 2016.  

This review was posted on the Nebraska Library Commission blog February 28, 2020, see the original post here:

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A Letter from our President

Dear Friends of the Nebraska Center for the Book:

What a great year for the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB)! Thank you for your continued support of NCB and its programs. It was wonderful to see many of you at the Celebration of Nebraska Books in November!

With the close of 2019 we begin a new chapter with the NCB. One of the most notable changes is the move from a print newsletter to the online news blog. This will enable us to keep you up-to-date on NCB news and events in a timely manner. We will introduce you to members of the board, showcase One Book One Nebraska, the Celebration of Nebraska Books, and much more. 

We continue to promote Nebraska writers throughout the state. Each year the NCB celebrates One Book One Nebraska. For 2020 NCB will celebrate, All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton with Ken Gire. It is the first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor.  Stratton grew up in Red Cloud and talks about how he ended up at Pearl Harbor and what happened after.

We encourage Nebraska youth to both read and write. NCB has received a grant from Humanities Nebraska to encourage student participation in the Letters About Literature Program. This program encourages students to write to the author who has made a difference in their life. 

Thank you for your continued support of the Nebraska Center for the Book! To all of you, who are such dedicated members of the NCB, we ask for your continued support through renewal of your membership in the Center. With a strong foundation the NCB can celebrate Nebraska and all those who read, write, or publish books that enrich our experience as we turn a page and discover new stories. 

For your convenience you are now able to join or renew your NCB membership online via PayPal.

We appreciate your continued support of the Nebraska Center for the Book and those in Nebraska who are reading, writing, and producing books!


Nebraska Center for the Book, President

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