Taboo: Poems (Wishbone Trilogy Series #1)

Overview

With the allusive leaps and improvisational chops of a jazz soloist, Yusef Komunyakaa is our great poet of connectivity?the secret blood that links slave and master, explorer and native, stranger and brother. In Taboo he examines the role of blacks in Western history, and how these roles are portrayed in art and literature. In taut, meticulously crafted three-line stanzas, Rubens paints his wife looking longingly at a black servant; Aphra Behn writes Oroonoko "as if she'd rehearsed it/for years in her spleen"; ...

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Overview

With the allusive leaps and improvisational chops of a jazz soloist, Yusef Komunyakaa is our great poet of connectivity—the secret blood that links slave and master, explorer and native, stranger and brother. In Taboo he examines the role of blacks in Western history, and how these roles are portrayed in art and literature. In taut, meticulously crafted three-line stanzas, Rubens paints his wife looking longingly at a black servant; Aphra Behn writes Oroonoko "as if she'd rehearsed it/for years in her spleen"; and in Monticello, Thomas Jefferson is "still/at his neo-classical desk/musing, but we know his mind/is brushing aside abstractions/so his hands can touch flesh." Taboo is the powerful first book in a new trilogy by a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose work never ceases to challenge and delight his readers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Yusef Komunyakaa] has a near-revelatory capacity to give himself over to his subject matter and to the taut concision of his free verse . . . Dazzling." —David Wojahn, Poetry

"Komunyakaa wonderfully achieves the combined mischief and moralizing of Catullus, one of his acknowledged heroes . . . He refuses to be trivial; and he even dares beauty." —April Bernard, The New York Times Book Review

"[Taboo] calls to mind Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman—the private gaze and the civic drum, purifying language, purifying history." —Darryl Lorenzo Wellington, Washington Post Book World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374530150
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/21/2006
  • Series: Wishbone Trilogy Series , #1
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Yusef Komunyakaa's eleven books of poems include Talking Dirty to the Gods (FSG, 2000) and Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. He teaches at Princeton University.

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Table of Contents

Lingo

Imhotep

Aghribat Al-Arab

Henry the Navigator

Other Worlds

Bacchanal

Astraea's Footnotes

Queen Marie-Thérèse & Nabo

Lament & Praise Song

Sunset in Surinam

Monticello

Unframing a Triptych

Captain Amasa Delano's Dilemma

Before the Windows

Double Exposure

King of the Octave

The Price of Blood

The Quadroon's Masque Hall

Antebellum Silhouettes

Tobe's Blues

Othello's Robe

Jeanne Duval's Confession

Hagar's Daughter

Chiaroscuro

Nude Study

Trueblood's Blues

Satchmo, USA

Cante Jondo

The House

To Beauty

Daddy Red

Twilight Seduction

Homage to a Bellhop

Forgive & Live

Séance & Shadowplay

Lustration

Lucumi

Oil

At the Red Sea

In Line at the Bank

Troubling the Water

Netherworlds

Lingua Franca

The Archivist

Desecration

Outside the Blue Nile

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