- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 31, 2005

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Steve Mason, a soldier and poet who became the unofficial bard of the Vietnam War, died May 25 of lung cancer at his home in Ashland, Ore. He was 65.

Considered the poet laureate of Vietnam veterans, Mr. Mason’s blank verse gave voice to a generation’s wounds. His poem “The Wall Within” was read at the 1984 dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

He began by writing love poems in the 1970s, co-writing “Moths and Violets” with a friend. Eventually, he began opening up the wounds of war, publishing the trilogy for which he is best known, “Johnny’s Song: Poetry of a Vietnam Veteran,” in 1986, “Warrior for Peace” in 1988 and “The Human Being — A Warrior’s Journey Toward Peace and Mutual Healing” in 1990.

Though a longtime proponent of Oregon’s assisted suicide law, Mr. Mason did not use the lethal dose of pills that had been granted to him, his family said.

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