Reviewed Work: Talking Dirty to the Gods by Yusef Komunyakaa
Department of Literature and Modern Languages
World Literature Today
Talking Dirty to the Gods is poet Yusef Komunyakaa's twelfth book, and it follows an illustrious sequence of publications that include his Pulitzer Prize-winning collection Neon Vernacular. Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana in 1947, Komunyakaa writes verse which pulsates with the rich folklore and mystery that attended his childhood in the South, and the collection is suffused in ancient mythology, especially incorporating gods from the Greek pantheon. Talking Dirty to the Gods consists of 132 four-quatrain poems that ' destabilize traditional Western notions regarding the nature of the divine. Through retelling myths and recontextualizing various aspects of human existence, Komunyakaa situates God in the mundane interstices of our life while concomitantly defiling sacrosanct imaginings of the divine.
Shaw-Nevins, A. E. (2001). Reviewed Work: Talking Dirty to the Gods by Yusef Komunyakaa. World Literature Today, 75 (3/4) https://doi.org/10.2307/40156837