Monday, September 21, 2009
Magic City by Yusef Komunyakaa
This dark and slightly grim collection of poetry had only a few poems that struck me as only a little more than interesting. Had this book not found its way onto a reading list for my class, I surely would not have stumbled onto those few poems I did enjoy.
One of my favorites, “The Whistle,” had some nice tone and diction that I did admire. Komunyakaa writes,
“The seven o’clock whistle
Made the morning air fulvous
With a metallic syncopation
A key to a door in the sky – opening
& closing flesh. The melody
Men & women built lives around,
Sonorous as the queen bee’s fat
Hum drawing workers from flowers,
Back to the colonized heart.
I find it curious he uses an ampersand and he capitalizes the first word of every line. It’s almost as if he did not know how to turn off the formatting function in Word, but the book was first published in 1992, so that can’t be the case.
Komunyakaa has won a number of awards, including a Pulitzer in 1994. That poetry like this can win such an award puzzles me. I guess my tastes in poetry run counter to that of all the prize-givers. Thumb through it in a bookstore before buying. See whose side you are in for this one – he must have a devoted following. 3 stars