Yusef Komunyakaa A poet of war, struggle, and remembrance…
Intro • Inspired by events in his life • Odes and Narratives while sending a message • Of war, poems are of disappointment • One of the greatly lauded poets of autographical detail
Early Life • Born April 29, 1947, in Bogalusa, Louisiana • Originally James Willie Brown Jr. • Raised during the beginning of the Civil Rights movement • Father was abusive • Musical influence
Military Life • In 1965, after he graduated from Bogalusa’s Central High School, he enlisted in the US Army for a tour of duty in Vietnam • Started writing in the military • Managing editor of the Southern Cross military newspaper. • Earned a Bronze Star
After Vietnam • Started writing poetry in 1973 • In 1975, he received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado • In1977, his first book of poems was published, Dedications & Other Darkhorses. • In 1988, he published Dien Cai Dau, which has been praised by many poets as the best writing about the Vietnam War. • To this day, he has published many other books of poems and has been viewed as one of the best writers about the Vietnam War. • He has received many awards, such as the Wallace Stevens Award in 2011.
Style: Structure First Person POV One Stanza Flowing Passages Punctuating Passages Repetition
Style: Content/Themes Wrote of Jazz, Basketball, and War Themes cherished the beauty in positive aspects, Criticism in negative topics.
Style: Tone and Mood Tone is calm yet powerful; hides true theme in words Mood is seen in a different light http://www.ibiblio.org/ipa/poems/komunyakaa/thanks.php
Style: Literary Devises Allusion Symbolism Personification Irony
Literary Criticism • “Mr. Komunyakaa . . . is more the dreamy intellectual”-New York Times • “A Wordsworthian type whose worldly, philosophic mind might be stirred by something as homely and personal as a walk in a field of daffodils.“- Bruce Weber
Literary Criticism • "His poems, many of which are built on fiercely autobiographical details—about his stint in Vietnam, about his childhood—deal with the stains that experience leaves on a life, and they are often achingly suggestive without resolution." –New York Times • “Komunyakaa crafts a ‘neon vernacular.’”-Robyn Selman
LiteraryCriticism • "Komunyakaa's Vietnam poems rank with the best on that subject. He focuses on the mental horrors of war—the anguish shared by the soldiers, those left at home to keep watch, and other observers, participants, objectors, who are all part of the 'psychological terrain.'“- Kirkland C .Jones • "Though his tersely-phrased chronicles, like documentary photographs, give us the illusion that we are facing unmediated reality, they rely on a predictable though powerful set of literary conventions.“-Koestenbaum