Poetry Book

Cowboys and War by Larry Fry

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review Pending

 

Author's Synopsis

 Cowboys and War is a poetry collection written with the point of view and in the voice of Lieutenant Gary Bishop Deale, United States Air Force. Gary is a protagonist in the companion novel Delta Sierra, which describes his exploits as an F-105D Thunderchief pilot during the Vietnam War. The chap book also contains poems about his wife, Allison Faith Deale, who remains behind in North Carolina.

ISBN/ASIN: 9781981802456
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Review Genre: Poetry—Poetry Book
Number of Pages: 46

War in the Company of Medics: Poems of the 45th Surgical Hospital in Vietnam by John J. Candelaria

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

War in the Company of Medics, by John J. Candelaria, uses short narrative and imagistic poems to present a tale of war from the perspective of the executive officer of a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit in Vietnam in 1969-70. Taken together, Candelaria’s thirty poems, offering vivid images of blood-soaked hands, a severely wounded commander promising “I’ll walk again,” the body of an enemy combatant caught in concertina wire, and spring rain falling amid bombs, ponder the consequences of a politically questionable war.

Most of the poems are composed in free verse lines, but several use rhyme or poetic forms such as the villanelle, haiku, and what Candelaria calls a “found poem in a Sijo sequence,” in which the titles of all the poems are included in the last poem to help create an overview of the entire poetic sequence. Most of the poems employ an objective, almost anonymous narrative voice that is quite effective.  The poems reach their best, I think, when they are most abstract and cryptic, creating scenes that could be overwhelming if relayed in a more subjective, personal manner: “Scissors cut uniforms, wounds/ pressed to keep life in”; “Blades slice the morning calm./ Dustoff arrives”; “Again, the body shudders,/ the boot strikes/ as if to wake the sleep of death.” 

Although the author occasionally concludes a poem by repeating a phrase or otherwise interpreting the scene that do not enhance the already powerful vignettes (as, for example, in “Slice of Time,” which ends with the comment “I left the morgue never/ to forget that slice of time”), overall these poems are memorable and striking. The “calm expertise” and “relentless sense of urgency” that Candelaria ascribes to the members of his surgical unit describe as well the driving tone of this work. This is a strong and significant collection.

Review by Nancy Arbuthnot (June 27, 2018)


Author's Synopsis

During the Vietnam War, MAJ John J. Candelaria served as Executive Officer of the 45th Surgical Hospital. The poems and photographs in this collection reflect the anguish resulting from soldiers wounded and killed in the line of duty. John's tribute poems to the 45th Surgical Hospital are expressions that embrace in words the courage, duty, and valor of those who served with distinction at the 45th MASH.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9861604-1-7
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Poetry Book
Review Genre: Poetry—Poetry Book
Number of Pages: 52
 

Vietnam Voices by Michael Lepore

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Vietnam Voices by Michael F. Lepore is an excellent collection of the author's poetry.  Subtitled Echoes of the Vietnam Experience, the twenty eight poems in the book bring home to the reader the thoughts and emotions of those affected by the war, and it does so in a way that you can feel those emotions. Whether it's the thoughts and feelings of a parent approaching the Vietnam Memorial wall for the first time, or the thoughts of a young woman in Vietnam longing to go to the U.S. to find a father she has never known, Lepore has the ability of "getting under the reader's skin." In each poem, I could feel the simple truth that the author presented. This is not a political read, nor is it anti-military. It's simply a reflection of the harsh realities of war.

The poetry is thought provoking, yet it is easy to read.  My hats off to this author and to his work.  I recommend this book to all readers of poetry, those interested in books about the Vietnam War, and to anyone who simply wants a fast, well written book!

Review by Bob Doerr (July 2018)


Author's Synopsis

Vietnam Voices employs in poetic verse the harsh realities of the Vietnam War as felt by those who fought it, those who anxiously waited at home, and those children born of American G.I.’s and Vietnamese women—innocent victims scorned for life. This book presents in all its complexity the bravado, agony and loss of those affected by combat and is as resonant with the issues that face our fighting men and women today as fifty years ago.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9913861-3-0
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Poetry Book
Review Genre: Poetry—Poetry Book
Number of Pages: 60
 

Moral Injury; by Michael Lepore

MWSA Review
As a Viet Nam Vet, Michael's poetry hit some strong nerves. I am sure most readers would quickly grasp the confusion of combat, and the combative emotions of the soldier. Ideas of a young man totally thrown into a cauldron of fire that seeks to change all the ideals one as been taught as a child, and replace them with hate and cruelty. Those actions can set a pattern that will trouble the soul long after battles are over and weapons are stacked. Even years, half a life later, when the soldier lays down his head at night, the nightmare stands waiting, stamping her feet to ride through those traumatic times of long ago. I would recommend Moral Injury for many readers. The soldier knows, everyone else should seek to understand.
Review by Larry Murley, MWSA Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:
Moral Injury is a book of poems that chronicles the devastating effects of the Vietnam War on those American soldiers who returned home. The conflict between the moral instruction the young soldiers had been raised to believe in and the duty to follow orders and protect their comrades, between the instinct to survive and the wish to be compassionate led to the  moral confusion explored in this book.

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0-9982588-2-9 /0998258822
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Poetry Book
Review Genre: Poetry—Poetry Book
Number of Pages: 54