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Thieves of Paradise
Yusef Komunyakaa

Wesleyan Poetry Series

1998 • 136 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry / African-American Studies

$16.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6422-1
$25.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-6330-9

“What is most gratifying about Komunyakaa's [poems] . . . is their power to convince us that the individual imagination is more than equal to the most excruciating historical burden.” —New Yorker

Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa delivers a powerful meditation on American, and particularly African American, life in the wake of Vietnam.

Centering on the disorienting experiences of the returning soldier and drawing on multiple traditions, Yusef Komunyakaa’s poetry is potent, live, and, like the strains of jazz running through it, an erudite and soulful music.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Komunyakaa is a poet of the human heart, in all its joys and horrors, fiercely present as it pounds awy at the center of every human being's consciousness. He enlarges our idea of what poetry is, challenging us to go beyond our own narrow definitions . . . Buy it now, find your own peaceful corner of our shared and imperfect paradise, and prepare yourself to be robbed of all you thought you knew, to experience criminal bliss.” —Washington Post Book World

“Komunyakaa's heroic attempt to reconcile so many different cultural manifestations, tendencies, and influences reveals nothing short of a desire to heal, through both confrontation and empathy, the wounds of history.”—American Book Review

“In this first collection since his Pulitzer Prize-winning Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems (1994), Komunyakaa brings his lush, propulsive, myth-making language to a wide range of subjects: Charlie Parker and Ishi; the California Indian; the wildlife of Australia and South Africa.... Here, as in the work of kindred spirits the Beats, a deliberately raw poetry is fruitfully thrown in with the cooked. The resulting vision of paradise -- 'the same feeling that drives/ sap through mango leaves,/ up into the fruit's sweet/ flesh & stony pit' -- is a compelling one.”—Publishers Weekly

Author Photo

YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA is a professor in the creative writing department at New York University. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and many other awards for poetic achievement, including the 2001 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the 2004 Shelley Memorial Award, the Hanes Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Levinson Prize from Poetry Magazine, and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:00:26 -0500