Dan Guenther was a Captain in the Marine Corps from 1968-1970, and has written a trilogy that draws from his Vietnam War tour. Several of the poems in The Crooked Truth: Selected Poems (Redburn Press, 76 pp., $9.95, paper) come from that experience and are image-rich and accessible to a reader. He even includes an Agent Orange poem.
The last poem in the collection is a powerful one, “Crossing, ” which is about the “dark weight” of that war that weighs many of us down. My favorite poem is “Crop Circles, ” in which the poet gives new life to the old cliché of the panhandling Vietnam veteran who works from a “curiosity made from old plywood and tiny wheels.”
There is no mawkish sentimentality anywhere in this little book because of Guenther’s plain-yet-elegant language. Dan Guenther remains one of the finest poets of the Vietnam War.