Our July Veteran Artist Spotlight falls on Veteran & Author Kim DeFiori!

Kim DeFiori & Thor

Kim DeFiori (she/her/hers) is a retired Army Officer. Last year she published her first book “Lessons from Thor: Healing with a Service Dog’s Touch” and had her first ever poem published in the CBAW Anthology “We Were Not Alone.” Kim received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the United States Military Academy, and MBA from Cornell University. She will start her PhD at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Health Policy and Management in the fall of 2022. Kim enjoys hanging out with cats, dogs, horses, and giraffes.

CBAW: “What is your choice of medium, and why?”

Kim DeFiori: “Writing, I have a hard time speaking the words on how I feel about something. You can’t always say it, but you can find the words through writing. I also love the writing community and hearing other writers’ works. There’s something about art that allows you to find the piece that fits how you feel.

CBAW: “How has writing impacted you as a person?”

KD: “I almost failed writing class at West Point. I saw myself as a bad writer and avoided it, until I joined the writing group at Walter Reed led by Seema. She helped us find words, pictures, songs, or whatever else that connected to our experiences and emotions. The groups helped us realize the human experience and how we are having normal emotional reactions to abnormal events. Writing has helped me develop a deeper empathy toward others and connect to the community around me.”

CBAW: “What do you hope someone gets from reading your work?”

KD: “If you read Lessons from Thor, I hope you can enjoy learning more about how animals can assist in our healing journey. I also hope you get a few laughs from the goofy ways of my service dog Thor. My poetry, I hope someone can understand or connect to an experience. I haven’t experienced your life and you haven’t experienced mine, but the emotional reaction to events is often quite similar. We’ve been happy, sad, quivering in anger, and bent over in laughter. Our lives are so different, but the emotions connect us to people we may have never met”

CBAW: “What is next for you, Kim?”

KD: “I’m starting my second year in my PhD at Johns Hopkins focused on health policy and management. I want to focus on access to mental health, so feel free to reach out if you want to hear more, offer advice, or anything else.”

Make sure to check out Kim’s debut book, Lessons From Thor, available now. You can connect with her at lessonsfromthor.com or on social media @lessonsfromthor. (Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok.)