Martin Lesinski is a photographer, writer and combat disabled Vietnam veteran. He began using writing in combination with self-portraits and government documents to explore his identity as a disabled veteran in the ‘70s. At that time, his work was shown in galleries, published in Dumb Ox, an art journal, and part of a nationally touring show, Disability and the Arts. Several years ago he returned to writing about his experiences as a combat veteran and disabled person. Currently he is a member of the Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace writing group and has begun public reading in differing venues. His writings are first-hand reports of shaping a life of healing. They articulate the experiences of veterans and offer families and non-veterans insights into not the blood and guts of war, but the difficulties veterans encounter navigating a world shaped by PTSD.
We recorded Martin’s reading (on an iphone) on Wednesday, March 2 at the second of four “Writing through War” workshops. Additional workshops were held on February 24, and March 9, and 16;featured readers for those evenings were Joe Lamb, Aaron Hughes, Ryan Holleran, and Amber Hoy.
Martin was introduced by Julie Thi Underhill, an interdisciplinary writer, artist, teacher, and scholar whose inheritances from war have deeply shaped her life. Born in Missouri in 1976 to a Cham-French refugee mother from Viet Nam and an American father who served in Viet Nam, Underhill has published in Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, Troubling Borders, Embodying Asian/American Sexualities, Takin’ It to the Streets: A Sixties Reader, ColorLines, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and TrenchArt Monographs. Underhill currently teaches literature and composition at California College of the Arts while completing her doctorate in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley.