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From 'Nam with Love
An Infantry Soldier's Vietnam

by Lloyd A. King

      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.

The Book

River Road Press
August 2006
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The Reviewer

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Reviewed 2006
NOTE: Reviewer Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the award-winning author of This is the Place, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't -the 2004 winner of USA Book News' Best Professional Book of the Year- and a recently published chapbook of poetry titled Tracings.
© 2006