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The Chameleon Couch Poems

ISBN: 9780374533144 | 0374533148
Edition: Reprint
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pub. Date: 3/27/2012

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The latest collection from one of our preeminent poets, The Chameleon Couchis also one of Yusef Komunyakaa's most personal. As in his breakthrough work Copacetic, he writes of music as musefrom a blues club in the East Village to the shakuhachi of Matsuo Basho. Beginning with "Canticle," this varied collection often returns to the idea of poem as hymn, ethereal and haunting, as Komunyakaa reveals glimpses of memory, myth, and violence. With contemplations that spring up along walks or memories conjured by the rhythms of New York, Komunyakaa pays tribute to those who came before him. The book moves seamlessly across cultural and historical boundaries, evoking Komunyakaa's capacity for cultural excavation through artifact and place. The Chameleon Couchbegins in and never fully leaves the presentan urban modernity framed, brilliantly, in pastoral-minded verse. The poems seek the cracks beneath the landscape, whether in New York or Ghana or Poland, finding in each elements of wisdom or unexpected beauty. The collection is sensually, beautifully relaxed in rhetoric; in poems like "Cape Coast Castle," Komunyakaa reminds us of his gift for combining the personal with the universal, one moment addressing a lover, the next moving the focus outward, until both poet and reader are implicated in the book's startling world.

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