Playing Basketball with the Viet Cong

Trade Paper – $14.95

ISBN 978-1-880684-20-7
Publication Date
July 1995
Page Count
63 pages
Trim Size
5.4 x 8.5

Playing Basketball with the Viet Cong

Kevin Bowen

Poems about the Vietnam war, its aftermath, and a veteran coming to terms with his place in postwar society. 

About the Author

Kevin Bowen currently serves as Director of the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMass-Boston. The Progressive magazine chose Bowen's first book, Playing Basketball with the Viet Cong as "Pick of the Year." He lives in Dorchester, MA with his wife and two children.


"...a book of poems that unlock their beauty slowly..." —Harvard Review

It's a beautiful book, one I'll always treasure." —Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried 

"Beautiful. Bowen captures the spirituality of Vietnam." —Oliver Stone

"[The poems] are all informed by Bowen's reflective sensibility, and they are all etched with precision and grace." —The Progressive

"In his invaluable poetry, Kevin Bowen takes us through our war in Vietnam. He tells the terrible and awful truth of it. Reading these poems gives us the understanding and compassion to end that war and come home." —Maxine Hong Kingston

"Take this book into a quiet place...Let these poems go like sunlight to your heart." —Larry Heinemann, author of Paco's Story

"This is a different kind of Vietnam book; this collection evolves around a natural empathy between actors on a human stage that's almost mythic in scope and concerns... This poetry is shaped out of a love for people, as well as a painful passion garnered from the experience of war. One feels that a witness is sharing heartfelt moments when reading." —Yusef Komunyakaa