Yusef Komunyakaa

(April 29, 1947)

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.

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Facing It

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.

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