was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana in 1947. He served in Vietnam, saw combat, and received the Bronze Star. His 1994 book, Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977-1989
, won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His other books of poetry include Pleasure Dome: New & Collected Poems, 1975-1999
; Talking Dirty to the Gods
(2000); Thieves of Paradise
(1998), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Magic City
(1992); Dien Cai Dau
(1988), which won The Dark Room Poetry Prize; I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head
(1986), winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Award; and Copacetic
His prose is collected in Blues Notes: Essays, Interviews & Commentaries.
Komunyakaa has been a professor in the Council of Humanities and Creative Writing Program at Princeton University. In 1999 he was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. He is currently Professor and Senior Distinguished Poet at New York University.