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“Yusef Komunyakaa is a poet whose work, over ten years and many books, continues to grow in complexity and beauty, Neon Vernacular includes some of the best Vietnam testimony, in verse or prose, that I’ve ever read. Komunyakaa’s whole oeuvre explores and re/members the double consciousness at work in the construction of African-American male identity.”—Marilyn Hacker, The Nation
“This collection is comprised of poems from seven of Komunyakaa’s previous collections. A master at interweaving memory and history to shape his experiences into narratives, he enriches his poems with details . . . As an African American, he defines a culture with striking imagery that is often misunderstood by mainstream readers. Highly recommended”—Library Journal
“Komunyakaa’s best poems are jazzy and improvisational, razor-sharp pieces that tell us more about our culture than any news broadcast”—Bloomsbury Review
Posted June 19, 2000
I saw the author present one of the poems in this collection, 'Blue Light Lounge Sutra...' at a reading. He performed it with the gusto and passion you might find in a rock star singing his best song on a night when everything seems to come together. He read the poem from memory without pausing in his speech except to enhance its jazz-like rhythm. Immediately afterwards, the audience broke its habit of staying subdued and silent until the end of a reading to applaud spontaneously. This, I think, best describes the feelings Komunyakaa conjures when he is at his best. Although there are many strong poems in this collection, even on the page 'Blue Light Lounge Sutra...' obviously stands out. Other notables include 'Chair Gallows' and 'You and I Are Disappearing.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.