From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

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snapshots from the edge of a war

By Chris Fischer (reviewer)

snapshots from the edge of a war
by John Buquoi

(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015)

This review first appeared on

In a beautiful and emotional work of poetry by poet and Vietnam veteran John Buquoi, "snapshots from the edge of a war" is a collection that readers won't soon forget. Poetry is a unique genre. The best of it has the ability to transport the reader to a different time and place, and a different sense of emotional being. The worst does none of that, and can be a confusing mess of jumbled words. Luckily for readers, John Buquoi's wonderful work falls into the first category. Containing all the emotions that go along with wartime experiences, as well as the insight of a clearly reflective man, the vignettes contained in "snapshots from the edge of a war" are simply a collection of perfection.

I loved "snapshots from the edge of a war." Loved. It. How's that for a review? Well, it's honestly how I felt about this masterful work. Poet John Buquoi has done a fantastic job at creating poems that are emotional without being syrupy, that are realistic but still veiled, and that tell a complete and total story about his experiences in Vietnam. Any reader who enjoys poetry in any form should absolutely read this collection. And any person who is not 100% sure about poetry, but is interested in history, especially the history of the Vietnam War era, should give "snapshots from the edge of a war" a chance as well. I very highly recommend this collection of poetry. I hope that poet John Buquoi will work on a second collection. If it's anything like "snapshots from the edge of a war," it will be a work to treasure.

John Buquoi, was trained as a Vietnamese linguist at the Army Language School in Monterey, California and then assigned to the US Army Security Agency, 3rd Radio Research Unit (3rd RRU), a military affiliate of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Saigon and its Detachment 'J', in Phú Bài, Vietnam during the period 1963-1965.

After separation from the Army, he returned to Vietnam and was employed for over five years as a civilian for various defense contractors, during which time he worked and traveled widely throughout the country, spending time in virtually every province in South Vietnam.

The poems in this volume are, after over 50 years, echoes of that experience in a series of reflective narrative vignettes which one critic has called, "...first-rate in every respect, resonating on all levels—emotional, personal, factual, historical, literary..."

His work has been published on Vietnam Full Disclosure, the web site Vietnam War Poetry and accepted for publication in the journal, War, Literature & the Arts.

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