Yusef Komunyakaa

Yusef Komunyakaa the first African American male to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry

Yusef Komunyakaa photo

Yusef Komunyakaa (born April 29, 1947) won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award for his book Neon Vernacular. He has won many other awards for poetic achievement, including the 2001 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the 2004 Shelley Memorial Award, the Hanes Poetry Prize, the Levinson Prize from Poetry Magazine, and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

His subject matter ranges from the black general experience through rural Southern life before the Civil Rights time period and his experience as a soldier during the Vietnam War. 

Below Komunyakaa reads his poem “Facing It.” Part of the Poetry Everywhere project airing on public television. Produced by David Grubin Productions and WGBH Boston, in association with the Poetry Foundation. Filmed at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.

Photo Credit: David Shankbone

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18 Books by Yusef Komunyakaa