Talking Dirty to the Gods by Yusef Komunyakaa

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Yusef Komunyakaa examines the basic rituals connecting insects, animals, human beings, and gods in this inspired collection. No turn in any life cycle is taboo here; it is the author's personal challenge that shame not dictate any facet of subject matter in this volume, a volume in which each of the seven deadly sins is enlivened, sloth first.

The first of 132 four-quatrain poems is entitled "Hearsay" and the last is called "Heresy"-the book is framed by innuendo and the kind of lively satire that extends to folklore in the blues tradition. When Komunyakaa looks to nature, he configures his own paradigm, in which something as commonplace as the jewel wasp laying an egg in a cockroach is as grand as Zeus's infidelity.

Author of eleven previous books, Komunyakaa has met his highest challenge to craft the lyric poems in Talking Dirty to the Gods. The compression of his sixteen-line form dictates an athletic use of language and generates truths past a poem's dimension.


About Yusef Komunyakaa

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Yusef Komunyakaa is a professor in the Council of Humanities and Creative Writing program at Princeton University.
Published September 12, 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 134 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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/ I didn't mean to blab / On & on, to bring into the bedroom those wormy / Epigrams."

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Publishers Weekly

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He tells a centaur how ""Unholy/ Need & desire divide the season,/ As you eat sugar from a nymph's palm,/ Before she mounts & rides you into a man."" The Venus of Willendorf displays ""two fat gladiolus bulbs,"" ""a hunk of limestone/ Shaped into a blues singer."" Bedazzled by clashing consonants...

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