an American poet who currently teaches at New York University and is a famous 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 ... more »
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Yusef Komunyakaa Poems
My black face fades, hiding inside the black granite. I said I wouldn't, dammit: No tears.
My Father's Love Letters
On Fridays he'd open a can of Jax After coming home from the mill, & ask me to write a letter to my mother Who sent postcards of desert flowers
Usually at the helipad I see them stumble-dance across the hot asphalt with crokersacks over their heads,
I sit beside two women, kitty-corner to the stage, as Elvin's sticks blur the club into a blue fantasia. I thought my body had forgotten the Deep
The old woman made mint Candy for the children Who'd bolt through her front door, Silhouettes of the great blue
Believing in Iron
The hills my brothers & I created Never balanced, & it took years To discover how the world worked. We could look at a tree of blackbirds
The seven o'clock whistle Made the morning air fulvous With a metallic syncopation, A key to a door in the sky---opening
Someone says Tristan & Isolde, the shared cup & broken vows binding them,
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn't,
dammit: No tears.
I'm stone. I'm flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way--the stone lets me go.
I turn that way--I'm inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap's white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman's ...