OVERRIDE

Warhorses

Poems

Yusef Komunyakaa

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

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.

Gilgamesh’s Humbaba
READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

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

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

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
BACK

BUY THE BOOK

Available Formats and Book Details

Warhorses

Poems

Yusef Komunyakaa

BACK