Born in the rural community of Bogalusa, Louisiana, YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA served in Vietnam as a correspondent and editor of The Southern Cross and received a Bronze Star for his service as a journalist. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado in 1975, completed his master's degree in 1978 at Colorado State University and earned an M.F.A. from the University of California at Irvine in 1980. The author of nine collections of poetry, Komunyakaa won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Prize for his book Neon Vernacular (Wesleyan, 1994). He has also been awarded the Thomas Forcade Award, the William Faulkner Prize, the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine, the Hanes Poetry Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1999, he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and was awarded the Shelley Memorial Prize by the Poetry Society of America. Komunyakaa has taught at Indiana State University, Washington University, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of New Orleans, and is currently Professor in the Council of Humanities and Creative Writing at Princeton University.
"So finely tuned are Komunyakaa's images, so faultless his vision, that the reader sees precisely what the poet recalls . . . A powerful must-read for those who have forgotten those days"~Booklist
"The best writing we've had from the long war in Vietnam has been prose so far. Yusef Komunyakaa's Dien Cai Dau changes that."~William Matthews
""So finely tuned are Komunyakaa's images, so faultless his vision, that the reader sees precisely what the poet recalls . . . A powerful must-read for those who have forgotten those days""~Booklist
""Komunyakaa makes a major contribution to the body of literature grappling with Vietnam —a poetry that pierces the artificial border between moral and aesthetic engagement.""~Poetry