Unemployed at 22, following a bitter Teamster's strike, Omanson hitch-hiked to the northwest coast with $5 & a change of clothes, & spent the next 11 months living in a lean-to on the Olympic Peninsula, living off the land & working in the woods as a logger, cedar bolt cutter & mill worker. ~~~ He has also worked as a barrel plater, drill press operator, furniture factory worker, auto-worker, tree trimmer, truck driver, bus driver, taxi driver, gardener, fruit picker, groundskeeper, nurseryman, barn restorer, farmhand, librarian, grave-digger, custodian, nurse's aide on a locked ward for the criminally insane, & teamster (draft horses). ~~~ Omanson currently works as an historical interpreter at Pricketts Fort near Fairmont, WV, & is owner of the online bookstore, Monongahela Books. ~~~ His publications include poetry, literary criticism, theatre & art reviews, & military history. ~~~ Omanson annotated a book of WWI poetry for the Univ of SC Press, "This Man's Army: A War in Fifty-odd Sonnets" by John Allan Wyeth. Completely unknown when Omanson rediscovered him in the early '90s, Wyeth is now widely seen as the most significant American poet of WWI. His war sonnets were reissued in the Joseph Bruccoli "Great War Series", with introduction by Dana Gioia. ~~~ Omanson also introduced & annotated the memoir of a WWI Marine, Louis Linn, published by McFarland Publishers, "At Belleau Wood with Rifle and Sketchpad: Memoir of a US Marine in WWI". ~~~ "Stark County Poems: War & the Depression Come to Spoon River" was just published by Monongahela Books, containing 25 narrative poems depicting life between the wars along the upper Spoon River in Illinois where he, his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all born & raised. ~~~ BJ Omanson's poems & literary criticism have appeared in Hudson Review, Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, Verse, Pennsylvania Review, Best American Poetry and the Academy of American Poets anthology, "New Voices, 1989-1998". Twenty-one of his poems were featured in the book "Stark County, Illinois: History and Families" by the Stark County Genealogical Society and Acclaim Press.
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Listing last updated: April 9, 2013