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,
When deeds splay before us precious as gold & unused chances stripped from the whine-bone,
A Break from the Bush
The South China Sea drives in another herd. The volleyball's a punching bag:
The sun slides down behind brick dust, today's angle of life. Everything melts, even when backbones
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.
The seven o'clock whistle
Made the morning air fulvous
With a metallic syncopation,
A key to a door in the sky---opening
& closing flesh.The melody
Men & women built lives around,
Sonorous as the queen bee's fat
Hum drawing workers from flowers,
Back to the colonized heart.