Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa will give a reading on Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 7 p.m. in the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, 922 Park Avenue. Komunyakaa is the author of many books, including his collected works, “Pleasure Dome” (2001, Wesleyan University Press), and his latest, “The Chameleon Couch” (2011, Farrar, Straus and Giroux). He received the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for “Neon Vernacular” (1993, Wesleyan University Press), his selected works. In 2011, he received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. He is currently Distinguished Senior Poet in the creative writing program at New York University.
Komunyakaa’s often autobiographical poems draw from diverse experiences and interests: the civil rights movement, classical literature, the Vietnam War, class struggle and jazz. He received a Bronze Star for his service as a war correspondent in Southeast Asia. His book “Dien Cai Dau” (1988, Wesleyan University Press) is lauded as some of the finest writing about the Vietnam War and its times. His poems about black America and music are celebrated as both masterpieces of verse and vital cultural documents. “The task of the poet,” he says, “is to pose serious questions that can make us more human.”
Books will be available for purchase at the event, and a public reception and book signing will be held immediately following the reading. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the VCU Friends of the Library and the VCU Department of English. It is free and open to all, but because seating is limited, registration is required. For details and registration, please see the event website: http://www.library.vcu.edu/events/komunyakaa/. For special accommodations or to register offline, please contact Gregory Kimbrell at (804) 828-0593 or kimbrellgg at vcu.edu. Event parking is available for a fee in the West Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks.