| Norfolk, Virginia|
University of Georgia
Dr. Shelton Land
| August 9, 1983 (age 32) (1983-08-09) |
Renee Rhodes Step-Father Gary Rhodes
Erika Renee Land Wikipedia
Erika Renee Land (born August 9, 1983) is an American 21st-century war poet, author, and motivational speaker. She has published two poetry collections that chronicle her experiences as a pharmacy technician while helping the Global War on Terrorism efforts, several lesbian fiction novels, and academic articles.
Land was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 9, 1983. She grew up on the corner of Tidewater Drive and Wall Street in the Barraud Park neighborhood. She attended 6-7 elementary schools in multiple states because of her stepfather's military service, then Azalea Middle School and Granby High School, both located in Norfolk.
After graduating high school, Land joined the United States Army, where she earned a Pharmacy Technician technical degree - MOS classification 68Q. She was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood for basic training, Fort Sam Houston for Advanced Individual Training (AIT), and Fort Lewis, before being deployed with the 47th Combat Support Hospital to FOB Diamondback in Mosul, Iraq, and finally Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Her decorations include two Army Achievement medals, the Army Superior Unit award, the National Defense Service medal, the Global War on Terrorism service medal, the Iraq Campaign medal with campaign star, the Army Service Ribbon and the Overseas service ribbon.
After returning from Mosul, Iraq in 2006, Land was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In February 2009, she was honorably discharged from the Army and moved to Athens, Georgia to pursue a career in pharmacy. Land lost her passion for pharmacy as she searched for ways to heal her PTSD.
Land attempted suicide multiple times, but was saved by what she describes as a "divine intervention". After her last attempt, she embarked on a quest to educate the general public about PTSD by way of poetry. She stumbled upon poetry after she hearing a song that reduced her to tears, prompting her to write her first poem, "War Song". After publishing it and a few others, she pursued a degree in English from the University of Georgia. Her first poetry performance was at the Globe, a local pub in Athens, for Word of Mouth. She self-published her first collection, Residual Affects, with fellow veteran and photographer Katisha Smittick in 2013. With hopes of winning the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Land republished a few of her war-related poems along with new pieces as the solo project Georgia's Dam.
She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Lambda Delta Chapter.