Yusef Komunyakaa

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in 1947, the poet Yusef Komunyakaa at the age of sixteen discovered James Baldwin’s essays, inspiring him to write for the first time—“one hundred lines in rhymed quatrains, very traditional and very verbose.” He served in Vietnam, edited the military paper The Southern Cross, and received a Bronze Star. His book of poetry, Neon Vernacular, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994.

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