Yusef Komunyakaa

Yusef Komunyakaa was born 1947 and raised in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Served in Vietnam as an information specialist, saw combat, and received the Bronze Star. A graduate of the University of Colorado, he also received masters degrees form the University of California, Irvine as well as Colorado State University. After teaching at the University of New Orleans, Komunyakaa was a professor at Indiana University. In 1997, he began teaching at Princeton University where he is a professor in the Council of Humanities and Creative Writing. Wesleyan has published six of his ten books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Neo-Vernacular (1993), which also won the Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award from the Claremont Graduate School, Magic City (1992), and Dien Cai Cau (1998). In 1991, he won the Thomas Forcade award; in 1993 was nominated of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry; in 1994 received the William Faulkner Prize from the University of Rennes in France; in 1997 he was awarded the Levinson Prize from Poetry Magazine and the Hanes Poetry Prize. His new book from Wesleyan is Thieves of Paradise. In 1999, Yusef Komunyakaa was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.


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