Talking Dirty to the Gods: Poems

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sep 12, 2001 - Poetry - 144 pages
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A daredevil poetic achievement nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award

. . . A god isn't worth
A drop of water in the hell of his good

Imagination, if we can't curse
Sunsets & threaten to forsake him
In his storehouse of belladonna,
Tiger hornets, & snakebites.
--from "Meditations in a Swine Yard"

No turn in any life cycle is taboo as Yusef Komunyakaa examines the primal rituals shared by insects, animals, human beings, and deities in Talking Dirty to the Gods. From "Hearsay" to "Heresy," these 132 poems, each consisting of four quatrains, are framed by innuendo and lively satire. Komunyakaa looks to nature and configures his own paradigm, in which an event as commonplace as the jewel wasp laying an egg in a cockroach becomes every bit as grand as Zeus's infidelity. The formally rigorous collection is itself a design for a systematic cosmos, a world compressed but abundant in surprise and delight.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Komunyakaa, although known for his wide-ranging experiments in open and closed verse forms, restricts his field here to a long cycle of verses of four quatrains each. Such a structure, even in the ... Read full review

Talking dirty to the gods: poems

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Prize winner Komunyakaa attempts to filter a wide range of subjects through a single poetic form, lyric meditations built from four quatrains with individual lines of three to four stresses. Most ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Yusef Komunyakaa was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in 1947. His eleven books of poems include Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. He is a professor in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.

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