Yusef Komunyakaa

New York University
Writer (poet, essayist, librettist); Educator
Humanities and Arts
Komunyakaa, poet, essayist, and librettist, his work combines jazz rhythms and syncopation with hip colloquialism and the unique, arresting imagery that is his trademark. His poetry also conveys a desire to articulate cultural truths that remain unspoken in daily discourse, in the hope that they will bring a sort of redemption. Komunyakaa' s work has been influential for a wide swath of current American poets. His Dien Cai Dau (1988), which won The Dark Room Poetry Prize, has been cited by poets such as William Matthews and Robert Hass as being among the best writing on the war in Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star as a correspondent and managing editor of Southern Cross.
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