You will never read another book of poetry again like the one that Vietnam veteran poet, Dennis Maulsby has written. It is a work that defines the emotional essence of what the war felt like to those of us who served there. It reaches inside your skull and your heart and rips them apart with such visual imagery that it leaves you breathless at times, with your heart beating faster than it should be. But as you put down the written words, the inner verbiage still continues rolling around inside your head seeking comfort from wars and despair.
But his poetry is much more than just war as it embraces the dreams of young soldiers who still have memories of good times at Myrtle Beach of 1968. Then he hits you with his poem, “Aging Warrior,” which takes you full circle emotionally and spiritually.
These poems will create different reactions in the readers based on their own view of life and death and war — that is the magic of Maulsby’s poetry. It is much like a modern art painting subject to inner and very personal views of what is on the canvas; in this case, what he has on the printed page.
Dennis Maulsby is no doubt one of the top 10 poets to come out of the Vietnam War era. His book is on the "MWSA Recommended Poetry Books List" to read for a good reason — it is a literary voyage that should be taken and experienced.
Sample of one of his poems:
MEMORY OF A EURASIAN WORKING GIRL
I hope she knew why I was so quiet, when
we held hands that night in her strange land,
uninvited and lost.
It must have made her uneasy, watching for cues
from this twice her size round-eyed male creature,
so large pored and hairy.
Blood-warm breeze felt so comfortable.
Her perfume riffing the air,
set time for the music
That night she even pierced my blind stare,
and helped me lay down my mountain of stored up death,
so weary with the weight.
Whether she was aware or not,
she did what women have done for soldiers these
thousands of futile years.
Fingers entwined our primal spirits touched
and I remembered
what my soul should look like
Copyright 2001 by Dennis Maulsby
This poem was recently printed in Lyrical Iowa, the annual anthology of the Iowa Poets Association
Reviewed by: Bill McDonald (2005)