Yusef Komunyakaa Biography | Author of Ode to a Drum

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Yusef Komunyakaa (pronounced "koh-mun-yah-kuh") was born April 29, 1947, in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The oldest of five children, Komunyakaa grew up listening to blues and jazz through a radio in his mother's living room, which, along with the experiences he had in the segregated South, would influence much of his poetry. In 1965, after graduating from high school, Komunyakaa enlisted in the army and began a tour of duty in Vietnam where he would eventually become a correspondent and editor for the Southern Cross, the military's newspaper. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his work with the paper, and after leaving the military in the early 1970s, Komunyakaa entered the University of Colorado where he received his bachelor's degree in 1975.

In 1978, Komunyakaa received his master's degree from Colorado State University, and in 1980 he went on to receive his master of fine arts degree from the University of California at Irving. His...

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This section contains 380 words
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Poetry for Students
Ode to a Drum from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.