The Smell of the Light

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In The Smell of the Light: Vietnam, 1968-1969, Bill McCloud’s poems take the reader chronologically through his personal experience with the Vietnam War. From his decision in the spring of 1967 to join the army, to the present-day determination by the VA that he has a service-connected disability, these poems chart a remarkable journey. McCloud served on an army airbase during the height of the war. The poetry he uses to describe his experiences is based on more than fifty letters he wrote home to his family. His poems deal with helicopters being shot down, air rescues, rocket attacks, and buddies being wounded in action. But they also address the day to day routine, boredom, hooch maids, bar girls, memorable characters, and the time he met Ann-Margret. It’s a collection unlike any other.