Yusef Komunyakaa, Pulitzer Prize winning poet grew up in Bogalusa Louisiana. Yusef had an interesting childhood including an abusive father, a love for jazz music, and a side of patriotism. He joined the army in 1965 during the heart of the Vietnam War. This is where Yusef got a lot of inspiration to start to write his poetry. War brought him a lot of personal experiences that he later turned into award winning poetry. ‘Facing it” is a poem expressing the struggle of life and death also what is real and what is not.
The poem starts by Yusef setting the scene of him at the Vietnam Memorial, looking at the black granite with all the names of the fallen soldiers. He then seems to fade into his own death, he says he is stone but then follows it right up by stating he is flesh. What Yusef is trying to say is that all of these people of this granite wall struggled with life and death. Some being not so fortunate to beat the struggle, these are the people whose names are on the wall, the fallen. This is a very good life lesson that you can’t fight what will happen; there is a plan for everyone. Some people will end up of a granite wall and some people will live and have to face seeing the people they knew on a granite wall.
When looking at this wall of fallen soldiers Yusef is having a hard time telling what is real life and what is not. He explains how the 58,022 names are fading into a women’s blouse and how it looks like a women is trying to eras the names of the fallen, this is all his imagination. Yusef feels as if his name should have been on the wall and all of this in and out of reality proves that by showing he doesn’t think he should be looking at these names. It all feels like a dream to Yusef, he doesn’t want to believe what he is seeing is real again; this is why he is having these thoughts going in and out of reality
This poem facing it is just one example of Yusef’s war poetry. The feelings and emotions that he puts out in this...
Cited: Komunyakaa, Yusef. Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems. Middleton: Weseleyan UP, 2001. Print.
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