One of Texas A&M University-Central Texas’ newest alumni, Dwight A. Gray, was recently accepted as a Veterans Fellow at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, a creative retreat located in the mountains of north Georgia.
Gray, a retired master sergeant, originally hails from Bowling Green, Kentucky and graduated from nearby Centre College with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. After graduation, he transferred to the active Army and spent over 22 years in the Army Medical Department. His career took him to Fort Hood, Kansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Virginia and overseas to Germany, Korea and Iraq. During his time in the Army, writing fell by the wayside for Gray, but in Iraq, in 2009, he started writing again.
As a platoon sergeant, writing became a way of sorting through events that were occurring around us and telling a truth that might not make it into the official news nad official reports. While writing could never be mistaken for therapy, it was certainly therapeutic at times.
Gray recently completed his Master of Fine Arts at The Sewanee School of Letters, and his Master of Science at A&M-Central Texas.
As a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Texas A&M-Central Texas professors and students make a difference in community education opportunities by providing creative, flexible, and engaging classes at an affordable price.
“The creative writing and writing intensive classes at A&M-Central Texas were a big part of preparing me for graduate school as well as for future residencies,” Gray said. “I think the writing projects that interest me have always been interdisciplinary in nature, blending history, media studies and religion, and I credit professor Ryan Bayless’ encouragement, and Dr. Allen Redmon’s interdisciplinary focus for sharpening my critical eye when expressing ideas.”
Bayless was impressed with Gray’s natural ability for writing, as well as his work ethic in the classroom.
“In both literature and creative writing classes, Dwight was one of those students with an ability to not only think on his feet in class discussions, but also proved himself to be a writer who never shied away from putting his nose to the grindstone when it came to refining and revising his ideas. Likewise, his poems shine with both the intensity of the moment of creation as well as the polish of a skilled craftsman,” Bayless said.
As there are no strings attached to the Veteran’s Fellowship as far as medium or subject matter, Gray will be free to explore his writing interests in a free-form, collaborative environment.
“While at Hambidge I will primarily work on edits for Contested Terrain, begin revising another idea for a collection of poems and stories and hopefully writing new material,” Gray said. “Hambidge is located in the Chattahoochie National Forest in Georgia so I’ll spend any extra time hiking.”
“I hope to spend time interacting with other artists and sharing with the community, but we haven’t discussed specifics at this point,” Gray said.
He is the author of one previous collection of poems, Overwatch, Grey Sparrow Press, 2011. His poetry has appeared in The Sewanee Review, Appalachian Heritage, Kentucky Review, The Good Men Project, Still: The Journal, War, Literature and the Arts, The Lookout, among many other journals. His upcoming book, Contested Terrain, will be published by FutureCycle Press (Lexington, Kentucky) in 2017.
Gray writes and lives in Copperas Cove, Texas with his wife, Gwendolyn.
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities is a transformative influence in American public higher education through advocacy, leadership and service. For more information on AASCU, please click HERE.