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A daredevil poetic achievement from a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Yusef Komunyakaa's Talking Dirty to the Gods was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award

. . . A god isn't worth
A drop of water in the hell of his good

Imagination, if we can't curse
Sunsets & threaten to forsake him
In his storehouse of belladonna,
Tiger hornets, & snakebites.
--from Meditations in a Swine Yard

No turn in any life cycle is taboo as Yusef Komunyakaa examines the primal rituals shared by insects, animals, human beings, and deities in Talking Dirty to the Gods. From Hearsay to Heresy, these 132 poems, each consisting of four quatrains, are framed by innuendo and lively satire. Komunyakaa looks to nature and configures his own paradigm, in which an event as commonplace as the jewel wasp laying an egg in a cockroach becomes every bit as grand as Zeus's infidelity. The formally rigorous collection is itself a design for a systematic cosmos, a world compressed but abundant in surprise and delight.

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Talking Dirty to the Gods: Poems

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  • Komunyakaa, Yusef

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