Gerardo "Tony" Mena is a
decorated Iraqi Freedom Veteran who spent six years in the Special Operations community with the Reconnaissance Marines
as a Special Amphibious
(SARC). During his tour in Iraq
he was awarded a Navy
Achievement Medal with a V
for Valor for multiple acts
After the completion of his military service, he began attending the University of Missouri and surrounded himself with music and poetry as a means of dealing with the events he experienced in the war.
He graduated from Mizzou with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education-Language Arts, where he was also awarded the 2011 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Leadership, as well as the 2011 U.S. Bank/Mizzou Student Veterans Association Scholarship.
His poem, "So I Was a Coffin," was the winner of the "2010 War Poetry Contest" sponsored by Winningwriters, and his multi-media version was featured in the online portion of Poets & Writers Magazine. He won the "National Veteran Writing Contest" sponsored by the Missouri Humanities Council, the "2011 Penumbra Haiku Contest" sponsored by the Tallahassee Writers Association, was awarded second place in the "Gemini Magazine Poetry Open Contest," was a finalist in Press 53's "2012 Open Awards", and was selected for inclusion in the Best New Poets 2011 anthology series featuring fifty poems from promising emerging poets.
He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, was a finalist for the "Best of the Net 2011," was a finalist for the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the 2012 Fourway Books Intro Prize. He has poems published in Louisiana Review, Diagram, Hawai'i Review, Cider Press Review, Burner Magazine, The Medulla Review, Barely South Review, Spillway, The San Pedro River Review, Sleetmagazine, Poetry East, Protest Poems.org, Ninth Letter, The New Mexico Poetry Review, Four Way Review, a creative non-fiction essay featured in a Chautaqua Spotlight as a notable new voice to watch published in Chautauqua's War and Peace issue, a creative non-fiction essay in War, Literature, & the Arts, a non-fiction essay published on the Veterans Association's website, two songs featured in the Nashville Review, and a third song featured in The Blue Lotus Review.
He currently has poems forthcoming from Cream City Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Raleigh Review, and the Prairie Schooner Digital Online Project. He has just completed his first full-length manuscript of war poetry and it is currently looking for a home.
If you would like to help Gerardo on his journey to bring to light poems and stories about the Iraq war, please share his work with as many friends and family as possible.
Remember these men:
Kevin Dempsey, Killed In Action, November 13th, 2004.
Jonathan Simpson, Killed In Action, October 14th, 2006.
Kyle Powell, Killed In Action, November 4th, 2006.
Jose Galvan, Killed In Action, November 4th, 2006.
Nathan Krisoff, Killed In Action, December 9th, 2006.
Gary Johnston, Killed In Action, January 23rd, 2007.
Dustin Lee, Killed In Action, March 21st, 2007.
Luke Milam, Killed In Action, September 25th, 2007.
Michael Ferschke, Killed In Action, August 10, 2008.
The burden is heavy.
E-mail him at: Gerardomena82(at)live(dot)com
Twitter: Tonyidigmusic, or share this site by clicking the button below.
A multi-media version of his award winning poem:
All music written and recorded by Gerardo "Tony" Mena. Songs on itunes HERE