Spotlight on Alaska Books: The Soul of My Soldier by Abigail B. Calkin

It was June 2009 at an inn on
Kachemak Bay, Alaska. Donna, someone I had just met said, “Tell me about your
My camel. I
live in Alaska. She’s from Chicago, the wife of a poet, and it’s her first trip
here. People ask me lots of strange questions. Do you have electricity? Running
water? An indoor toilet? My camel—do I also have a camel?
Seeing my confusion, she touched her neck, “The camel. The
camel around your neck.”
I touched my gold camel. “My husband brought it back to me
when he came home from the Gulf War.” After the now-usual thank-you for his
service, she asked how he was.
Fine. From this one. He was not fine after two years in

(from The Soul of My Soldier by Abigail B.

Through moving prose and poetry, Abigail Calkin crafts a unique
military story. Her reflections bring to life the struggles and triumphs
military families often face. Her story provides many insights about how
challenges turn into strengthening bonds that connect a couple and their family
to their past, present, and future.  
“Beautifully written, deeply
honest, and necessary. This memoir blew me away.”
—Abigail Thomas, Three Dog Life

appreciation for service members’ sacrifices appears as primal and tangible as
her adoration of her husband.… Calkin’s marriage is a metaphor for military
service, whereby persistence and commitment to something larger than oneself
delivers intrinsic rewards in spades.”
Corso, PsyD, OEF Veteran
“Wonderful combination of essays and poetry with
assurances of a strong writer with subject matter no one wishes for. The prose
is excellent and poetry the tie that binds.”
Grace Cavalieri,
founder and producer: NPR’s “The Poet and the Poem”
B. Calkin’s writing ranges from non-fiction to award-winning fiction
and poetry.
Author of 8 books,
over 70 published poems, and over 40 behavior analysis articles, she is an
experienced presenter, drawing on her background as teacher, school
psychologist, principal, and professor in special education and psychology.

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