Warhorses

Poems

Yusef Komunyakaa

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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This powerful new collection of Yusef Komunyakaa’s poetry delves into an age of war and conflict, both global and internal, racial and sexual. “Sweetheart, was I talking war in my sleep / again?” he asks, and the question is hardly moot: “Sometimes I hold you like Achilles’ / shield,” and indeed all relationships, in this telling, are sites of violence and battle. His line is longer and looser than in Taboo and Talking Dirty to the Gods, and in long poems like “The Autobiography of My Alter Ego” he sounds almost breathless, an exhausted, desperate prophet. Warhorses is the stunning work of a Pulitzer Prize–winning poet who never ceases to challenge and delight his readers.

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Book Excerpts

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Love in the Time of War

The jawbone of an ass. A shank braided with shark teeth. A garrote. A shepherd’s sling. A jagged stone that catches light & makes warriors dance to a bull-roarer’s lamentation. An obsidian ax. A lion-skin drum & reed flute. A nightlong prayer to gods stopped at the mouth of a cave.

The warrior-king summons one goddess after another to his bloodstained pallet. If these dear ones live inside his head they still dress his wounds with balms & sacred leaves, & kiss him back to strength, back to a boy.

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Yusef Komunyakaa reads from his poem "Love in a Time of War"

"Listen to this poetry reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, reading an excerpt from his poem ""Love in a Time of War,"" from his poetry collection Warhorses. This powerful collection delves into an age of war and conflict, both global and internal, racial and sexual. Read more about the book Warhorses at http://us.macmillan.com/warhorses/YusefKomunyakaa Learn more about poet Yusef Komunyakaa at http://us.macmillan.com/author/yusefkomunyakaa"

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Reviews

Praise for Warhorses

Praise for Taboo:
 
“[Taboo] call[s] to mind Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman—the private gaze and the civic drum, purifying language, purifying history.” —DARRYL LORENZO WELLINGTON, The Washington Post Book World
 
“Verses that practically sizzle and spark with intelligence . . . Komunyakaa thinks like a scholar and writes like a jazz musician.” —JOHN FREEMAN, The Philadelphia Inquirer

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About the Author

Yusef Komunyakaa

Yusef Komunyakaa’s twelve books of poems include Taboo (FSG, 2004) and Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. He teaches at Princeton University.

Yusef Komunyakaa

© Tom Wallace
Yusef Komunyakaa

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Available Formats and Book Details

Warhorses
Poems
Yusef Komunyakaa

Hardcover

Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
September 2008
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780374286439
ISBN10: 0374286434
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 96 pages
$24.00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
October 2009
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374531911
ISBN10: 0374531919
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 96 pages
$14.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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