A Minnesota PBS Initiative

Spotlight on Poetry

The Minnesota Remembers Vietnam community is rich with poets of all backgrounds, from veterans to refugees to middle school children. Below are just a few of our favorite poetry submissions.

You see, sir, he’s not dead, not blind. Somewhere in that fearsome jungle he lost his peace of mind.

An older woman with a cane posed next to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
A pencil drawing of a balding man with his hands over his face.

Yet still, you come to my bed like a life time love affair. But the dreams you bring pierce my heart…

How foolish of me to believe that a handful of seconds could ever do justice to every cup, to every quart…

Contemporary image of a young Hmong man smiling at a microphone, reading from a sheet of paper.
Contemporary photo of three school children holding up large "dog tags" they've made for class.

The veterans are misunderstood. The irony is for the veterans coming back, home is another war.

For grunts out in the wild boonies, engaged in life or death assault, the sound of choppers brought relief.

A guard's post with corrugated steel and sandbags, on top of a hill.
Contemporary image of a young Hmong woman gesturing with her two hands, standing in front of a Hmong story cloth.

The ghosts of my ancestors, swimming on my back. Waves breaking my spine. Sinking like silver.

The old, rich, distracted men sold my body. Luck, fate, or whatever gave it back. So here I am…

A yellow-tinged artistically rendered portrait of a soldier.
Contemporary image of an older gentleman in a "War Poet 69" zip up hoodie, a MN Twins ball cap, and sun glasses, sitting in front of shelves of books.

Vietnam killed him nearly 40 years after he came home. He thought he knew his enemies over there.

The house is a permanent home... the windows are draped in black & the tenants are never coming back.

Soldiers sitting on steps up to a house with a group of Asian children.
Contemporary image of a Vietnamese man standing on a rooftop in downtown Minneapolis, reading from a music stand.

Last name: Nguyen. All of them. They’re not related but they’re more related than any of them will ever know.

Biographical Details

Story Subject: Military Service

Story Themes: Art, Art Roy, Bao Phi, Charles Schwiderski, Diane O'Shaugnessy, James Olson, Jim Olson, Ka Vang, Kevin Yang, Look, Michael Parenteau, MN Original, Music, Poetry, Refugee, Spoken Word, Steph Glaser, Stories on a Theme, The Vietnam Memorial, The Vietnam Wall, Tim Connelly, Twin Cities PBS

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