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.