Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

In the poems collected in Dien Cai Dau, how does Yusef Komunyakaa capture the confusion of battle?

The poem “Facing It” is called an elegy. What are the characteristics of an elegy? Can you think of other elegies to which “Facing It” can be compared?

Komunyakaa often returns to his personal past to trace the sources of his adult identity. Do you believe that the person you are now was shaped by childhood experiences?

Like music, poetry can be a means of healing the pain of life, such as the wounds caused by bigotry and racial oppression. Find evidence in Komunyakaa’s work to support this argument.

Komunyakaa is able to inhabit the lives of other people in his poems, to see the world through their eyes. Find examples.