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Dien Cai Dau by Yusef Komunyakaa
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Jul 15, 10

Read in July, 2010, read count: 3

Yusef Komunyakaa‘s Dien Cai Dau is another collection of Vietnam War poetry. The poet, who received the Bronze Star and edited The Southern Cross, dedicates this book to his brother Glenn, “who saw The Nam before” Komunyakaa did. His poems put the reader in the soldiers’ shoes, allowing them to camouflage themselves and skulk around the jungles of Vietnam from the very first lines of “Camouflaging the Chimera.” Beyond skulking in the jungle, hunting the Viet Cong, Komunyakaa discusses the weight of war as soldiers trudge through the landscape with their equipment and what they’ve done and seen. Weaving through the tunnels looking for the enemy or searching the thick forest, soldiers are constantly reminded of their emotional and physical burdens, though they find joy in some of the smallest moments.

One of the beautiful aspects of Komunyakaa’s poetry is his vivid sense of how even the most beautiful elements of nature have a darker side. In “Somewhere Near Phu Bai,” Komunyakaa writes “The moon cuts through/the night trees like a circular saw/white hot. . . .” and in “Starlight Scope Myopia,” he suggests, “Viet Cong/move under our eyelids,/lords over loneliness/winding like coral vine through/sandalwood & lotus/.”

Read the review: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2010/07/d...
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