Playing Basketball with the Viet Cong

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a book of poems that unlock their beauty slowly..." — Harvard Review

"[The poems] are all informed by Bowen's reflective sensibility, and they are all etched with precision and grace." — The Progressive

"This is a different kind of Vietnam book; this collection evolves around a natural empathy between actors on a human stage that's almost mythic in scope and concerns... This poetry is shaped out of a love for people, as well as a painful passion garnered from the experience of war. One feels that a witness is sharing heartfelt moments when reading." — Yusef Komunyakaa

Library Journal
This is a groundbreaking book about the Vietnam War that shows deep compassion for people rather than simply displaying brutality like so many other books on the subject of war, particularly this war. Witness these lines from "Song in the Green Light": "A young girl sings in the green light,/songs of leaves on the river, evening rain./She strains to keep time with the boy/who fights the feedback of his bass./Her voice, so clear, holds the strength/of her song high out over the audience." A mystic collection of poetry from a witness, this book serves as a poetic history of the Vietnam war from a new perspective. Each poem in this collection moves quietly into the next one, grabbing the reader's heart. Highly recommended.-Lenard D. Moore, "Shawensis," Shaw Univ., Raleigh, N.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880684207
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Series: Curbstone Press Contemporary Poets Series
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 63
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 7
Nhat Da Trach: One Night Swamp 11
First Casualty 13
Cities of Dust 14
War Story for Paul 15
Rappelling 17
Made in Ha Noi 18
Ferry Crossing North of Hal Phong 19
Incoming 22
Prodigies 23
Temple at Quan Loi, 1969 24
Pictures of the Buddha 25
President Diem's Motorcade 26
Willie Dancing 27
Banded Kraits 28
Graves at Quang Tri 30
Nui Ba Den: Black Virgin Mountain 32
Missing 34
Thien Quang Lake 36
The Arts of Love and Hydrology as Practiced in Ha Noi 37
Body Count: The Dead at Tay Ninh 39
Banking Lesson, 1970 40
At the Tomb of Tu Duc 41
Playing Basketball with the Viet Cong 42
Peasant Fare 43
Gelatin Factory 45
In the Village of Yen So 47
Pictures from Quang Nam 48
Lotus Tea 50
The Children's Tet 51
A Conical Hat 52
The Temple of Literature 55
The Tay So'n Armies 56
The Quiet Americans 57
Chung's House: The Liberation of Ha Noi 58
Song in the Green Light 59
Midnight, The Cuu Long 60
River Music 61
Reunion 62
The Snail Gatherers of Co Loa Thanh 63
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