Originally published in Willow Springs 21

About Yusef Komunyakaa

Photo Credit: dodgepoetry.org

Yusef Komunyakaa was born in 1947 in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised during the beginning of the civil rights movement. He served in the United States Army from 1969 to 1970 as a correspondent, and as a managing editor of the Southern Cross during the Vietnam War, earning him a Bronze Star. Komunyakaa is one of America’s most prolific and important poets, having received the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his book Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, as well as the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement from the Academy of American Poets. He is a Distinguished Senior Poet in New York University’s graduate creative writing program, where he’s taught since 2006.