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KNOXVILLE — Yusef Komunyakaa, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, will read selections from his work at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, in the Hodges Library Auditorium on UT’s campus.

“His reading will make a great impression on people who have never been to poetry and to those that are very familiar with them,” said Marilyn Kallet, organizer of the event and professor of English. “He is just as good as it gets.”

Komunyakaa is a Vietnam veteran and was the first poet to write about Vietnam. He was drafted in 1968 and originally covered the war as a reporter, but later was involved in combat and earned a Bronze Star.

Since then, Komunyakaa has written 12 books, including nine volumes of poetry. Recent poetry collections include Taboo: The Wishbone Trilogy; Talking Dirty to the Gods; Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems; Thieves of Paradise and Neon Vernacular, winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize. He is distinguished senior poet at New York University and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

“His poetry sounds sinewy, muscular and there is a toughness to them, but they are also very lyrical. Yusef is a major American and internationally known poet,” said Kallet.

An informal discussion session will be held with Komunyakaa from 10 to 11 a.m. Nov. 7 in rooms 1210-1211 of McClung Tower.

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

The reading complements Ready for the World, UT’s intercultural and international awareness initiative.

For more information, contact Kallet at

Marilyn Kallet,
Beth Gladden, media relations, 974-9008 or