The Vietnam War, America's longest -- and in some ways most devastating -- conflict, changed the course of a generation and left millions wondering, "Why?" Here, in the first-ever collection of poetry from both sides of the war, Vietnamese and American poets use their art to ponder this haunting question. Chronologically arranged to mirror the progression of the war, From Both Sides Now brings together a wide variety of opposing views, with poetry by American and Vietnamese soldiers, orphans, widows, priests, monks, political figures, and antiwar protesters. In addition to including extraordinary works from well-known poets such as Bruce Weigl, Margaret Atwood, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, Robert Bly, Allen Ginsberg, Grace Paley, Philip Levine, and W. S. Merwin, editor Phillip Mahony has scoured the globe to find amazing and, in some cases, never-before-published poetry by North and South Vietnamese soldiers and poets and the first postwar generation of Vietnamese-Americans. Together the words of these poets cohere to a modern, many-voiced epic about the most important event in recent American history. Poignant and accessible, the poems collected here will leave an indelible impact on all readers -- not only poetry lovers but everyone who lived through, and those who want to learn about, the Vietnam War.
David Lehman Author of Valentine Place and Editor of The Best American Poetry series No conflict has given rise to more deadly stereotypes than the war in Vietnam. Phillip Mahony's moving anthology helps to counteract such stereotypes while deepening our understanding of the single most divisive series of events in recent American history.
Nicholas Christopher Author of The Creation of the Night Sky and Veronica Phillip Mahony has done an extraordinary job of editing this anthology, which is both a compendium of haunting, biting, illuminating poetry, and a tremendously powerful cultural history -- in fact, a historical document -- like no other of the Vietnam War....To those of us who lived through the war, who fought it and fought against it, and to the generation that has come of age afterward, From Both Sides Now is quite simply an indispensable book. It views the war from a unique and penetrating angle, through the hard lens of poetry, and is certainly a permanent addition to the literature of the period. Mr. Mahony should be applauded for what he has given us here.