Yusef Komunyakaa

Cindy Seip

Yusef Komunyakaa’s work includes The Emperor of Water Clocks: Poems, Warhorses: Poems, and Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth: New and Selected Poems, 2001-2021 (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) brings together new and selected poems from his lauded canon. His masterful, concise verse conjures arresting images of peace and war, the natural power of the earth and love, his childhood in the American South and his service in Vietnam, the ugly violence of racism in America, and the meaning of power and morality. The new poems in this collection add a refrain to the jazz-inflected rhythms of one of our most important poets. Komunyakaa writes of a young man fashioning a slingshot, workers who “honor the Earth by opening shine / inside the soil,” and the sounds of a saxophone filling a dim lounge in New Jersey. Praising the book in a starred review, Publishers Weekly observed that “this dazzling collection makes a definitive case for Pulitzer Prize winning Komunyakaa as a monumental and singular American voice.”