bj omanson’s wwi publications

Omanson annotated and wrote the section introductions for a book of World War I poetry This Man’s Army: A War in Fifty-odd Sonnets by John Allan Wyeth, a staff officer with the 33rd Division, AEF. Completely unknown when Omanson rediscovered him in the early ’90s, Wyeth is increasingly recognized as the most significant American poet of WWI. His 1928 collection of war sonnets was reissued in 2008 with an introduction by Dana Gioia by the University of South Carolina Press as part of the Joseph Bruccoli Great War Series.


Before the Clangor of the Gun: the First World War Poetry of John Allan Wyeth (Monongahela Books, 2019)  contains several in-depth studies of Wyeth’s poetry, as well as a wealth of new biographical material.





click to enlarge

Omanson also annotated and wrote the chapter introductions for the memoir of a volunteer soldier in the First World War: At Belleau Wood with Rifle and Sketchpad: Memoir of a United States Marine in World War I, by Louis C. Linn, published by McFarland & Company in 2012.




Tower at the Edge of the Wood

The Tower at the Edge of the Wood: Bois Belleau Seventy-five Years After
. (Monongahela Books, 2017).

Night after night through heavy shellfire, Alpheus Appenheimer, a private with the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, 4th Brigade of Marines, hauled ammunition to front-line positions of his company with a 4-line mule-team and wagon during the fiercest fighting at Belleau Wood. ~~~ For years after the war, Alpheus hoped to return to Belleau Wood with his wife, America, to show her where he had served during those desperate days and nights in June,  1918, when a single brigade of Marines stood against the German drive on Paris. But the realities of raising a family on a small Illinois farm during the agricultural depression of the 1920s made a trip to France all but impossible, and it was not until seventy-five years after the war that the first member of Alpheus’s family was able to make the pilgrimage to Belleau Wood for him. ~~~ A single poem composed of 14 irregularly-rhymed sonnets, “The Tower at the Edge of the Wood” was originally published in Sparrow: A Yearbook of the Sonnet.


Published on March 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm  Comments (1)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hello B.J.: Your website is amazing. Thank you. And I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a question. . . . I have been for about two years researching a book about my grandfather’s exploits in France and Russia, 1918-1923, and in all this time I’ve not found been able to find any information on a particular subject: how American soldiers who had recovered from wounds/illness were returned from American base hospitals to the front. (My grandfather was a sergeant in a hospital at Royat, in 1918, and the official history of that hospital, out of San Francisco, says he spent most of his time traveling around France, returning soldiers to their units.) I’m trying to determine if he was accompanying them on a troop-transport truck (while someone else drove?), or if he was guiding them via rail, or actually driving himself. I know, obviously, that the French poilus found their own way back to their units, by rail, etc., when separated for one reason or another, but . . . . I’ve never come across any reference to how Americans might have done that, not knowing the language and being disoriented. If you have any thoughts on this matter, I’d be very grateful to hear them. Thanks, in any case, for running this great website. Bess R.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: