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Yusef Komunyakaa

Author of Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems

31+ Works 1,507 Members 19 Reviews 7 Favorited

About the Author

Yusef Komunyakka's eleven books of poems include Thieves of Paradise, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Neon Vernacular, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. He teaches at Princeton University and lives in New York City. (Bowker Author Biography)
Image credit: Photo by Lilithcat

Works by Yusef Komunyakaa

Dien Cai Dau (1988) 197 copies
The Best American Poetry 2003 (2003) — Editor — 175 copies
Magic City (1992) 117 copies
Thieves of Paradise (1998) 92 copies
The Chameleon Couch: Poems (2010) 71 copies
Warhorses: Poems (2008) 59 copies

Associated Works

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story (2021) — Contributor — 1,526 copies
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000) — Contributor — 1,278 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 938 copies
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1990) — Contributor, some editions — 766 copies
Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (1993) — Contributor — 339 copies
Baseball: A Literary Anthology (2002) — Contributor — 337 copies
McSweeney's Issue 22: Three Books Held Within By Magnets (2007) — Contributor — 336 copies
The Portable Sixties Reader (2002) — Contributor — 331 copies
The Best American Essays 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 237 copies
The Best American Poetry 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 225 copies
The Best American Poetry 2000 (2000) — Contributor — 213 copies
The Best American Poetry 1999 (1999) — Contributor — 208 copies
The Art of Losing (2010) — Cover artist — 205 copies
The Best American Poetry 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 204 copies
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song (2020) — Contributor — 177 copies
The Best American Poetry 1996 (1996) — Contributor — 171 copies
The Best American Poetry 1997 (1997) — Contributor — 167 copies
American Religious Poems: An Anthology (2006) — Contributor — 164 copies
The Best American Poetry 1995 (1995) — Contributor — 162 copies
The Vintage Book of African American Poetry (2000) — Contributor — 150 copies
The Best American Poetry 2016 (2016) — Contributor — 105 copies
The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology (1997) — Contributor — 99 copies
The 100 Best African American Poems (2010) — Contributor — 98 copies
The Best American Poetry 2017 (2017) — Contributor — 98 copies
The Jazz Poetry Anthology (1991) — Editor — 95 copies
The Best American Poetry 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 86 copies
The Best American Poetry 2014 (2014) — Contributor — 81 copies
Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series (2015) — Contributor — 75 copies
The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (2012) — Contributor — 64 copies
Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin (2016) — Contributor — 58 copies
Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African American Poetry (1997) — Contributor — 57 copies
The Ecopoetry Anthology (2013) — Contributor — 50 copies
The Best American Poetry 2021 (2021) — Contributor — 48 copies
The Best American Poetry 2020 (2020) — Contributor — 42 copies
The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007) — Contributor — 34 copies
Second Set (The Jazz Poetry Anthology , Vol 2) (1996) — Editor — 14 copies
Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology (2018) — Contributor — 9 copies
Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky (2016) — Contributor — 3 copies
Hambone, No. 3 — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge



Excellent collection; creates a larger story more than most I've read.
Kiramke | 2 other reviews | Jun 27, 2023 |
This was a powerful poem showing how memories of war can never be forgotten by those who fought. The character's POV feels so real...

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.
I turn that way—I'm inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap's white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman's blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet's image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I'm a window.
He's lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman’s trying to erase names:
No, she's brushing a boy's hair.
… (more)
BooksbyStarlight | Oct 25, 2022 |
“Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth” is a collection of new thoughts and reprinted classics by Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa. Every line paints a vivid and inspiring picture of the world around us. The geography, the people, and the thoughts are diverse and varied. They enable readers to perceive the world as someone else perceives it. The collection is life affirming and thought provoking.
I was given a review copy of” Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth” by Yusef Komunyakaa and Farrar, Straus and Giroux. I want to diversify my reading and “Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth” does that wonderfully. No matter what one reads every day, every reader should regularly pick up a book of poetry such as this for life-affirming regeneration.… (more)
3no7 | 1 other review | Jul 8, 2021 |



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