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Brandywine’s Poet Laureate 

Photo By: Deja Footes

By: Deja Footes, Lion’s Eye Staff Writer,, updated by Lion’s Eye Web Staff

On October 6, Penn State Brandywine hosted this year’s Poet Laureate Dr. Carol Reardon who spoke to an intrigued audience about war.

Since 2008, PSU has honored faculty who have “brought greater visibility to the arts, the humanities, the honoree’s work and the University,” by naming a poet laureate.

Sitting in the audience, I wondered why anyone would study or speak so deeply about war. Luckily, my question about why Reardon studied war was answered by her stating, “How can we not?”

Reardon went on to explain how war is deeper than people just killing each other. “Something as complex as war touches everybody in so many ways we never expect to see,” she said. Reardon chose this topic of military and American history because she feels like she had no choice.

She also told her audience that one of the highest levels of war is strategy, and that it is good to think about the strategy as a three-legged stool. One of the legs stands for ends, meaning what you want to accomplish or what you want to do. Another leg stands for way, meaning how to go about accomplishing the specific goal. The final leg stands for means, meaning how to accomplish the strategy.

Having a strategy should be the main focus when going into war because the issue must be solved, and thinking about it in this way helps to understand the parts of the solution. “We really have to think about what happens when we send a nation to war,” Reardon said. “We are not always in control, oftentimes because of a lack of understanding.”

War affects each and every one of us whether we are in it or not, so it is useful and mandatory that we go into war being able to fully comprehend its outcome, and most importantly, the causes. Reardon maintains that war is much deeper than the weapons and people killing one another; it is about the reason behind it.

Reardon is also an author of many publications such as: Launch the Intruders: A Naval Attack Squadron in the Vietnam War; Pickett’s Charge in History and Memory; Soldiers and Scholars: The U.S. Army and the Uses of Military History.

She has been awarded many times for her accomplishments. Her first award was the William Woods Hassler Award for Excellence in Civil War Education in 2004. In 2007, she was awarded the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching by Penn State University. This particular award from Penn State is the highest level teaching award one can earn.

It is safe to say that Dr. Reardon has had a positive impact on many people as a military historian.

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