bj omanson: curriculum vitae


After dropping out of high school at 17, Omanson worked in Illinois, Colorado and Minnesota as a barrel plater, drill press operator, autoworker, tree trimmer, truck driver, taxi driver, bus driver, gardener, day laborer, fruit picker, groundsman, nurseryman, librarian, barn restorer, farmhand, gravedigger, garbageman, custodian, greens-mower & night waterman on golf courses in two states, nurse’s aide on a locked ward for the criminally insane, and teamster (driving draft horses).  Finally, he worked for ten years as an historical interpreter at Pricketts Fort on the Monongahela River in West Virginia, demonstrating the daily life of an 18th century homesteader on the Virginia frontier.

Currently, Omanson is the owner of Monongahela Press, a small publishing house specializing in American culture and history.

Omanson’s WWI publications include the following titles:

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 by the University of South Carolina Press as part of the Joseph Bruccoli Great War Series.


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.

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Tower at the Edge of the Wood


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

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Published on March 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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