Biography of Yusef Komunyakaa
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 poetry world. The award was presented to him by Lt. Governor of Louisiana, Mitch Landrieu, on November 3, 2007, at a ceremony held at the fifth annual Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge, LA.
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.
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,
Slam, Dunk, & Hook
Fast breaks. Lay ups. With Mercury's Insignia on our sneakers, We outmaneuvered to footwork
In the days when a man would hold a swarm of words inside his belly, nestled against his spleen, singing.
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
& tell you how many were there,
But with the scrap dealer
Our math was always off.
Weeks of lifting & grunting
Never added up to much,