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Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Yusef Komunyakaa at Writers in the Library

Renowned poet will read on Monday, November 6 at 7 p.m.

Yusef Komunyakaa will read at Writers in the Library on Monday, November 6 at 7 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of Hodges Library. Senior Distinguished Poet at New York University, Komunyakaa has published numerous collections of poetry and won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection Neon Vernacular.

“He is one of the very best poets writing today, in my opinion,” Marilyn Kallet, Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee, said. “His poetry is infused with jazz-blues, and every syllable is well-crafted. He works on three books at a time,” Kallet said.

Komunyakaa’s poetry collections also include Copacetic (1984), I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head (1986), Dien Cai Dau (1988), and Magic City (1992), and he was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for Thieves of Paradise (1998). He also edited the anthology Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (2003), and recorded the spoken word cd The Best Cigarette (1997).

In 1999 Komunyakaa was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and his many other commendations include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award from Claremont Graduate University, the Thomas Forcade Award, the William Faulkner Prize from the University of Rennes, the Dark Room Poetry Prize, Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize, and the Hanes Poetry Prize.

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana in 1947, he served in the army during the Vietnam War. He received the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, where he was a correspondent and managing editor of the Southern Cross. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Louisiana Arts Council.

Due to the popularity of this event, the reading will also be webcast into Hodges Library Rooms 127, 128, and 129 for overflow crowds.

This special event is sponsored by the Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund, and Writers in the Library.

The Writers in the Library series is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the Creative Writing Program of the UT English Department. For further information, please contact Jo Anne Deeken, Head of Technical Services, UT Libraries, at 974-6905 or, or R.B. Morris, Jack E. Reese Writer in Residence, UT Libraries, at 974-3004 or

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