Yusef Komunyakaa
Professor and Distinguished Senior Poet, New York University

Yusef Komunyakaa participated in the World Leaders Forum event, The Conversations Series: Improvisation in Everyday Life, in September 2007.

Yusef Komunyakaa, Professor and Distinguished Senior Poet at New York University, was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in 1947. His numerous books of poems include Pleasure Dome: New & Collected Poems, 1975-1999 (Wesleyan University Press, 2001); Talking Dirty to the Gods (2000); Thieves of Paradise (1998), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977-1989 (1994), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Magic City (1992); Dien Cai Dau (1988), which won The Dark Room Poetry Prize; I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head (1986), winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Award; and Copacetic (1984). Komunyakaa's prose is collected in Blues Notes: Essays, Interviews & Commentaries (University of Michigan Press, 2000). Komunyakaa also co-edited The Jazz Poetry Anthology (with J. A. Sascha Feinstein, 1991) and co-translated The Insomnia of Fire by Nguyen Quang Thieu (with Martha Collins, 1995). His honors include the William Faulkner Prize from the Université de Rennes, the Thomas Forcade Award, the Hanes Poetry Prize, fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Louisiana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, where he served as a correspondent and managing editor of the Southern Cross. From 1999 to 2005 he served as a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets. Professor Komunyakaa's most recent book is Gilgamesh, a verse play (concept and dramaturgy by Chad Gracia), published by Wesleyan University Press in November 2006.


Participated In

The Conversations Series: Improvisation in Everyday Life

Date: September 25, 2007 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location: Low Memorial Library
Co-sponsored by the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University
the guiding premise of the series is that the study of improvisation can
present a new animating paradigm for scholarly inquiry in the humanities, arts
and the social, political and natural sciences.