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NKU alum, Vietnam War veteran to commemorate Veterans Day with poetry reading


Nov. 2, 2021 —  Northern Kentucky University is excited to welcome back NKU alumnus and Vietnam War veteran Bob Barth (’73) for a reading of his literary poems as part of the Veterans Day events on campus on Nov. 11.

Barth will be reading from his latest book of poetry “Learning War: Selected Vietnam War Poems” in Steely Library’s Farris Reading Room at 4 p.m., which will be followed up by a question-and-answer session. There will also be an archive display, featuring manuscript revisions and publications by Barth, as well as the engraved cup Barth received as the winner of the 1973 Bill Byron Award, recognizing an outstanding student in the English Department. The display is located on the first floor of Steely Library in NKU’s Special Collections and University Archives.

As part of the Veterans Day events, a reception in the Farris Reading Room will honor Barth before the reading, and he will also visit a Poetry Writing class earlier in the day.

“Given my subject matter, the Vietnam War, I have always wanted to give a reading on Veterans Day. NKU is giving me the opportunity at last to do so,” Barth said. “I’m not only excited to be giving a Veterans Day reading, but giving it at NKU, where I began my literary studies, started writing, and had the good fortune to have studied with some excellent, inspiring teachers, makes this reading feel like, after nearly 50 years, I’m coming full circle.”

After returning home in spring of 1969 from a 13-month tour as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, Barth enrolled at then-Northern Community College (which became Northern Kentucky State College the following year), graduating cum laude with a B.A. in English. Barth was part of the first graduating class from the Highlands Heights campus in 1973. The college reached university status and became known as Northern Kentucky University in 1976.

In 1985, Barth published his first book of poems, “Looking for Peace.” That was followed by “A Soldier’s Time, Vietnam War Poems” in 1987. His third poetry book, “Deeply Dug In,” was published in 2003. Barth published a fourth book in 2016, titled “No Turning Back: The Battle of Dien Bien Phu.”

“A poem is a statement about human experience in words deployed in meters and lines,” Barth said. “Additionally, it is a technique on contemplation as a means to evaluate that experience.”

To learn more about resources and services available on campus for veterans and military personnel, visit the Veteran Resource Station at Reservations for the event can be made online

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit