Poetic War? Perhaps Just What We Need
Now is the time for every good man to understand war. Too bad, for now is the time an understanding seems very
hard to come by. Only this month doctored photographs were pawned off on busy editors at Reuters news agency. And
we learned not to trust what politicians tell us about modern wars long ago.
Enter the poet. Lloyd A. King does not - cannot - tell us exactly what wars are like today for they are different
in some ways than what he remembers. Still, the futility, the bureaucracy and yes, the humanity, must be similar.
Unlike the stories told to us daily in this decade, King does not embellish and so, though Vietnam is a different
war, we get a sense of battle, its camaraderie and senselessness, first hand.
King is careful with his illustrations, too. Influenced by the ink on silks and woodblocks he encountered in
Vietnam, their utter simplicity tells us far more about the place, time and war than any gratuitous and graphic
attempts at illustrating the horrors he has experienced ever could.
On occasion I found King's extensive use of rhyme disconcerting, not quite right, a bit forced for the poignant
subject at hand. At others it felt comfortable, the perfect voice for a young leader who cared for his troops and
still managed to get home alive to tell the story. I believe anyone interested in a grassroots, honest, gut level
but simple rendering of war will appreciate this book of poetry.