Fearless Laughter: Yusef Komunyakaa’s Advice to Young Poets

by    /  June 29, 2011  / No comments

Yusef Komunyakaa’s The Chameleon Couch, inhabits many musics: the delicate hymn in the book’s opening “Canticle,” the dark blues of a East Village club, and the haunting sound of a Japanese flute. In order to conjure these melodies and rhythms, Komunyakaa takes his poems through endless revisions, listening for “the music, that which comes from the body as opposed to that abstract mental space.”

In this video created by Sampsonia Way magazine and published also by Rattapallax, Komunyakaa describes his revision process, talks about the importance of silence in poetry, and dispenses advice for young poets.

Elizabeth Hoover interviewed Komunyakaa in City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s House Poem. Komunyakaa stayed in the House Poem while he was in Pittsburgh for COA/P’s Jazz Poetry concert.


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