Essay On Facing It By Yusef Komunyakaa

Reflective Outline Thesis Statement: As a veteran of the Vietnam War, Yusef Komunyakaa revisited the experiences and pain of having been in one of the most difficult wars in US History. Komunyakaa, again, experiences the sights, the memories of things that happened years ago. Komunyakaa, again, experiences the sights, the memories of things that happened years ago. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial brings back many experiences in very real, life-like detail.

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At the beginning of his poetic career, Komunyakaa’s vision was rooted most often in his race and gender, but even in his earliest work, there is evidence of his desire to incorporate the perspectives of other people.

This tendency to seek the universal expanded over time as Komunyakaa studied and traveled.

What results is the “neon vernacular” that Komunyakaa refers to in the title of his first edition of collected poems, a poetic language that illuminates meaning by expanding the linguistic options, the word choices, at the poet’s disposal.

Furthermore, Komunyakaa is adept at incorporating in his generally spare poems references, especially to musical culture, that amplify meaning through rich associations.

The first poem in this volume, “Camouflaging the Chimera,” focuses on the soldier’s desire to blend into the landscape in order to conceal himself from the enemy and to carry out his murderous mission.

Ciara Desmond In the poem “Facing It” by Yusef Komunyakaa, the speaker is remembering his experiences in the Vietnam War and all the soldiers whose lives were lost.Indeed, the title itself, the Vietnamese phrase for “crazy in the head,” signals to the reader the bewildering effect that this long war had on all participants.The Vietnamese referred to American soldiers as , but the war itself bred a kind of insanity in everyone involved.His poems about his formative years in the segregated South and his young adulthood set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War are explorations in hindsight, written many years after the actual events described.Such a retrospective approach allows the blood to cool and the poet to achieve the necessary aesthetic distance and psychological space between the present moment of composition and the original inciting incident, such as the emotional trauma of racism or the violence of armed conflict.Turner, however, is telling the reader not to expect anything less than outrageous because there are no rules to follow when you’re at war. When you are battling something you never thought was possible, like a “twelve year old” that “rolls a grenade into the room” (lines 8-9), you are essentially fighting the unknown which is even more frightening than knowing your enemy.The two poems are similar in the sense that both speakers have experienced horrible things and have lost many friends during their time in the war.Another major feature of Komunyakaa’s style is what has been labeled his montage technique.By this means, he builds many of his poems by superimposing one image upon another in order to create a single, complex, thematically related word picture.In the poem “My Father’s Love Letters,” for example, the poet confesses his desire to slip a warning into the note he writes to his mother on behalf of his illiterate father that “Mary Lou Williams’ ’Polka Dots & Moonbeams’/ Never made the swelling go down.” This 1940 ballad, written by the team of Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen but whose performance by African American jazz vocalist Mary Lou Williams is remembered by the poet, captures the euphoria of a young couple’s first dance; its romantic imagery stands in sharp contrast to the bleak reality of a marriage after the magic wears off.The line also highlights the conflict between the boy’s desire to assist his father in his quest to lure his wife back to him despite his past history of physical abuse and his simultaneous wish that his mother would keep her present distance and stay safe.


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