The primary focus of Vietnumb is to convey the need to break the cycle of violence, this culture of war that we seem destined to repeat, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. As a result of my personal involvement five decades ago in Vietnam, I should liken these poems to the testimonies of those in the documentary film, "Winter Soldier." I will never escape the extortion of guilt that was borne out of my participation in that misadventure, but if I might lyrically impact one young man or prevent one young woman from falling prey - to the insidious, the mendacious masters of war, I will have served my country better than I did those many years ago. A gritty narrative in verse, Vietnumb is a recollection of my time as a nineteen year old field marine in "the unpopular war" — a period that continues to plague me in the onerous aftermath of its wake.
About the Author:
Fred Rosenblum was born in St. Louis, MO in 1949, and migrated to California with the Midwestern diaspora of the 1950’s. He currently resides with his wife of 44 years in the therapeutic warmth of San Diego, California.
“The title of Fred Rosenblum's Vietnumb deftly asks and answers the central question: Why another Vietnam book after all these years? Because for a generation of Americans, not only those like Rosenblum who served, but the millions more of us for whom the war was daily witnessed through our TVs, in our homes and around the dinner tables, in the streets and in pop culture, Vietnam is the defining experience through which all else in life has been refracted; permanently shaping our relationships to our nation, our history, and our government in ways that are still reverberating today. We need this book because our country still sends young men (and now women) off to war, and it is essential that we understand what this does to them, and to us. It is not a comfortable read, but it is a necessary one.
— Larry W. Moore, Publisher, Broadstone Books
Fred Rosenblum's new book of poems,Vietnumb, is a work of abiding humanity that deepens our understanding of war-no matter when or where it's fought. This is an impressive collection that casts long shadows from the American War in Vietnam across half a century to current conflicts and the deployment of a new generation. The turbulence of these poems is at times hallucinatory and at times welded to traditional shapes that allow both poet and reader to somehow contain the horror. The flinty language renders the sight, sound and smell of combat in jagged, unrelenting detail. Rosenblum's poems grab us by the throat, insisting that we never forget what the loss of innocence looks like, that we always recognize the lie, pro patria mori.
— George Kovach, Editor, Consequence Magazine
Each poem, blunt as a rifle stock, infused with pain and regret, tramps into the memory of Vietnam to awaken ghosts buried in its jungles. A harrowing depiction that serves as warning to anyone who believes that war is anything but hell.
—Bill Glose, author of Half a Man and winner of the 2016 Missouri Humanities Council Award for Veteran's Poetry
These poems are not mere reflections, nor are they simple catalogs of witness or war's folly. There is a greater urgency here, to give words to the inexplicable experience of violence and survival, a need to unearth fragments of sense from the senseless carnage. Yet in the midst of terror, we find the most human moments, where men on the outer cusp of boyhood strain to create a glint of normalcy in the hazy jungle, in the desperate search for something to hound them to exist. Greatest of all is the steady candors of the poet's voice, from where the miserable wisdom blooms with a decisive, penetrating wit, and an unwavering compassion and tender observation-a true poet's lament.
—Esteban Alvarado, Poet/Educator
The survivors of our misadventure in Vietnam, those who were lucky enough to come home, are beginning to pass away in great numbers, so the appearance of Vietnumb by Fred Rosenblum, a former Marine, is important for its testimony as well as for its powerful language. His voice is unique. The rhythm of his lines reminds me of the Beats at their very best. These are not easy poems. They demand we read each word, each line with great care, and when we do, we find ourselves in Vietnam walking at Fred's side. It's not a comfortable place to be. I suspect that is exactly what he intends. It's a journey you'll never forget.
—Tom Sexton, former Poet Laureate of Alaska