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First Friday: VeteransWrite Reading

  • San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles 520 South 1st Street San Jose, CA, 95113 United States (map)

VeteransWrite was formed in 2014 with the support of Poetry Center San Jose and the VA, with the first meeting in Sept. 2015. The group initially met at Markham House in History Park. At the request of staff from San Jose State University, VeteransWrite relocated to the SJSU campus to provide better accessibility to veterans who are students there. 

The original intent was to provide a place for veterans and family members to meet monthly in a small group, in order to write and read their writing to each other. In 2018, at the request of the membership, an invitation has been extended to anyone who wants to attend, in order to bridge the divide some people may feel between military and civilian, with the understanding that every person is a "veteran of life". 

All levels of writing experience are welcome. Prompts and writing guidance are available. The group meets at MLK library on the SJSU campus on the First Friday of the month from 1 - 4 PM. For further information please email 

First Friday Schedule:

  • 7:00PM - 7:50PM David Eisbach, Dale Barnett, Doug Nelson

  • 7:50PM - 8:40PM Emilio Gallegos, Jeffrey Leonard, Nick Butterfield

  • 8:40PM - 9:30PM Amy Meier, Carol Steele

VeteransWrite Bios

Dale Barnett was raised in San Jose, CA., joined the air force for a stint. He’s been married 28 years and has 3 children. He lives in Morgan Hill, CA. and has been writing since 2009. He has self published 3 books and is involved with VeteransWrite, Poets@Play and Yosemite poetry festivals. He also writes for healing at he south San Jose VA clinic. 

Nick Butterfield served for 10 years in US-R as a Hospital Corpsman. He was activated during Operation Desert Storm. He works in Family Practice as a Nurse Practitioner in a FQHC Community Clinic and with Health Care for the Homeless Project for the last 17 years. He has been writing poetry since he was 13 years old. He has participated in open mics at the Willow Glen Poetry Project and other local venues since 1996 and was recently featured reader for Willow Glen Poetry Project. His poems have appeared in four anthologies and in Caesura.

Dave Eisbach was born in Minnesota. His mother worked in the Richmond California shipyards during the last two years of WWII. He grew up in Illinois, joined the Marines in 1957 and exited in 1960 as a Corporal E4. These years by some historical quirk were filled with peace. An adjunct teacher for many years, his interest in poetry expanded during his stint as a San Jose Arts Commissioner. He is an active poet in the Willow Glen Poetry Project, having poems in the groups anthologies, and has appeared in Central Coast Poetry Plays, Community TV. His book of poetry “Entwined” will be released in September 2918. David is the coordinator for the Oct. 5 San Jose Museum of Quilts reading.

Emilio Gallegos is a United States Marine Corps and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and single father of two. He is completing a BA at SJSU with a concentration in creative writing. Emilio has worked expensively with a men’s ministry group, and has directed a youth ministry group leading and teaching high school and middle school students. 

Jeffrey Leonard served in the U.S. Army between 1966-1968. Drafted out of SaN Jose State, he trained as a 11C40, leaving the service as an E-5. He is a 12th generation descendant of men who have served in every major conflict dating back to pre-Revolutionary America. A survivor of the Vietnam Era, he is drawn to the stories of the returning soldiers and how their lives unfold after they remove the uniform. 

Amy Meier grew up in New York City and has lived in the San Jose area for over 30 years. In 2015 Amy founded VeteransWrite, currently meeting once a month in the SJSU Dr. Martin Luther King library. Her recent work has been published in Caesura, Porter Gulch Review and online in Portside. 

Fifty years after serving in Vietnam, Doug Nelson is still trying to deal with the dissonance that comes with helping his country to be wrong. In 2007, Santa Clara County offered him a way to deal with Vietnam, assisting veterans with disability claims. His friends in the Willow Glen Poetry Project and in VeteransWrite are his mentors and muses.

Carol Steele comes from a military family. Both of her parents served in WWII. Her first husband and daughter's father was in the Air Force in Vietnam and her grandson is currently in the Army. Carol has been writing poetry about the family experience while having a loved one in the military during a time of war. She studied with Ellen Bass for eight years and is currently in a poetry salon with Patricia Machmiller and a member of Veterans Write.