Sam in ‘Nam by Sam Modica

Sam Modica served in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, H Company as a radio man.  Sam in ‘Nam: True Stories, Peoms from the War in Vietnam, 1968-1969 (Friesen Press, 96 pp., $15.95, paper), his book of prose poetry, is illustrated with black-and-white photographs.

The prose poems in this small book tell the story of Sam’s tour of duty. For example, the poem, “Bangkok,” gives us details of Sam’s R & R in Bangkok in powerful and pungent language.

I found the entire book fascinating and fun to read. It reminded me of the classic book-length narrative poem, How Audie Murphy Died in Vietnam by McAvoy Layne.  Sam in ‘Nam  is the only book I’ve read by a Vietnam veteran that has anything positive to say about Jane Fonda. I recommend it for that reason alone. Like Sam, I loved Jane Fonda in Barabarella. Many soldiers did. How soon they forget.

John S. “Sam” Modica, who was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 137 in Dallas, Texas, died on November 10. He was 62 years old.

—David Willson