The poems in Night Animals, by Yusef Komunyakaa, climb so deeply into the being of various beasts, from cricket to leopard to snowy owl, that we read them with an uncanny shiver of recognition. Without ever fully abandoning his human skin, Komunyakaa inhabits both the outer and inner lives of these creatures. The images are a brilliant match for the poems, each of Rachel Bliss’s surreal animals populate a realm somewhere between our two species—birds with teeth, men with antlers, a duck wearing suspenders. Both image and word are dense and dark, intensely focused around a kind of hunger. The poet has been startling us with his rich, disturbing, and important poems for many years. Night Animals extends Yusef Komunyakaa’s remarkable oeuvre.
Yusef Komunyakaa is an American poet who teaches at New York University and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Komunyakaa is a recipient of the 1994 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, for Neon Vernacular and the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He also received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Komunyakaa received the 2007 Louisiana Writer Award for his enduring contribution to the poetry world. His subject matter ranges from the black experience through rural Southern life before the Civil Rights era and his experience as a soldier during the Vietnam War.
1 – Night Animals – Yusef Komunyakaa, Rachel Bliss (Sarabande Books, 2011)
2 – Present Conditions – Joseph Massey (Hollyridge Press, 2018)
3 – Closest Pronunciation – Ed Roberson (Northwestern University Press, 2013)
4 – On Imagination – Mary Ruefle (Sarabande Books, 2017)
5 – The Blue Nib Chapbook 5 – Adam Levon, Ross McCague, Teresa Godfrey (The Blue Nib, 2020)
6 – The Cows – Lydia Davis (Sarabande Books, 2011)
7 – Mare Nostrum – Khaled Mattawa (Sarabande Books, 2019)
8 – Purity of Aim: The Book Jacket Designs of Alvin Lustig – Ned Drew and Paul Sternberger (RIT Press, 2010)
9 – Winter Warmers Silly & Serious – Sandra Matthews (Sheephouse Books, 2019)
10 – Any Kind of Excuse – Nin Andrews (The Kent State University Press , 2003)