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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Talking Dirty to the Gods

Talking Dirty to the Gods

Poems

Yusef Komunyakaa

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A daredevil poetic achievement nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award

. . . A god isn't worth
A drop of water in the hell of his good

Imagination, if we can't curse
Sunsets & threaten to forsake him
In his storehouse of belladonna,
Tiger hornets, & snakebites.
--from "Meditations in a Swine Yard"

No turn in any life cycle is taboo as Yusef Komunyakaa examines the primal rituals shared by insects, animals, human beings, and deities in Talking Dirty to the Gods. From "Hearsay" to "Heresy," these 132 poems, each consisting of four quatrains, are framed by innuendo and lively satire. Komunyakaa looks to nature and configures his own paradigm, in which an event as commonplace as the jewel wasp laying an egg in a cockroach becomes every bit as grand as Zeus's infidelity. The formally rigorous collection is itself a design for a systematic cosmos, a world compressed but abundant in surprise and delight.

National Book Critics Circle Award - Nominee, National Books Critics Circle Awards - Nominee, National Book Critics Circle Awards - Nominee

Praise for Talking Dirty to the Gods

“Komunyakaa's mournful surrealism seems to have found a perfect mathematical embodiment in [Talking Dirty to the Gods]...Komunyakaa's lexical and historical range is large, and his improvisations move effortlessly.” —The New Yorker

Reviews from Goodreads

Yusef Komunyakaa

Yusef Komunyakaa was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in 1947. His eleven books of poems include Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. He is a professor in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.

image of Yusef Komunyakaao
© Tom Wallace

Yusef Komunyakaa

Yusef Komunyakaa's faculty profile at NYU

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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