Yusef Komunyakaa

Yusef Komunyakaa

in Bogalusa, Louisiana, The United States
April 29, 1947


Yusef Komunyakaa (born April 29, 1947) is an American poet who teaches at New York University and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Komunyakaa is a recipient of the 1994 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, for Neon Vernacular and the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He also received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Komunyakaa received the 2007 Louisiana Writer Award for his enduring contribution to the poetry world.

His subject matter ranges from the black general experience through rural Southern life before the Civil Rights time period and his experience as a soldier during the Vietnam War.

(from Wikipedia)

Average rating: 4.13 · 4,611 ratings · 314 reviews · 59 distinct works · Similar authors
Neon Vernacular: New and Se...

4.19 avg rating — 1,442 ratings — published 1993 — 3 editions
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Dien Cai Dau

4.31 avg rating — 592 ratings — published 1988 — 5 editions
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Magic City

4.12 avg rating — 263 ratings — published 1992 — 2 editions
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Talking Dirty to the Gods

3.93 avg rating — 288 ratings — published 2000 — 2 editions
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Pleasure Dome

4.38 avg rating — 237 ratings — published 2001 — 4 editions
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The Chameleon Couch

3.90 avg rating — 201 ratings — published 2011 — 2 editions
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4.18 avg rating — 171 ratings — published 2008 — 2 editions
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The Best American Poetry 2003

3.73 avg rating — 136 ratings — published 2003 — 8 editions
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Thieves of Paradise

4.01 avg rating — 126 ratings — published 1998 — 2 editions
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Taboo: The Wishbone Trilogy...

3.81 avg rating — 94 ratings — published 2004 — 2 editions
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“I am this space my body believes in.”
Yusef Komunyakaa, Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems

“Title: Blue Light Lounge Sutra For The Performance Poets At Harold Park Hotel

the need gotta be
so deep words can't
answer simple questions
all night long notes
stumble off the tongue
& color the air indigo
so deep fragments of gut
& flesh cling to the song
you gotta get into it
so deep salt crystalizes on eyelashes
the need gotta be
so deep you can vomit up ghosts
& not feel broken
till you are no more
than a half ounce of gold
in painful brightness
you gotta get into it
blow that saxophone
so deep all the sex & dope in this world
can't erase your need
to howl against the sky
the need gotta be
so deep you can't
just wiggle your hips
& rise up out of it
chaos in the cosmos
modern man in the pepperpot
you gotta get hooked
into every hungry groove
so deep the bomb locked
in rust opens like a fist
into it into it so deep
rhythm is pre-memory
the need gotta be basic
animal need to see
& know the terror
we are made of honey
cause if you wanna dance
this boogie be ready
to let the devil use your head
for a drum”
Yusef Komunyakaa

“Whoever said men
hit harder when women
are around, is right.

Word for word,
we beat the love
out of each other.”
Yusef Komunyakaa, Pleasure Dome

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