American Tensions: Literature of Identity and the Search for Social Justice (New Village Press), an anthology of stories, poems and essays, includes works by NYU’s Scott Hightower and Yusef Komunyakaa.
The work, edited by William Reichard, contains an excerpt of Komunyakaa’s long poem, “Autobiography of My Alter Ego.” Komunyakaa, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet, is Distinguished Senior Poet in NYU’s Creative Writing Program. His books of poems include the following: Taboo : The Wishbone Trilogy, Part 1 (2004); Pleasure Dome: New & Collected Poems, 1975-1999 (2001); Talking Dirty to the Gods (2000); Thieves of Paradise (1998), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977-1989 (1993), which won the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.
American Tensions contains three of Hightower’s poems: “Conjuring War,” “Falling Man,” and “But at the Church.” Hightower, an adjunct professor at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, is the author of Part of the Bargain (Copper Canyon Press, 2005), winner of the Hayden Carruth Award for New and Emerging Poets, as well as Tin Can Tourist (2001) and Natural Trouble (2003).
The verses of both Komunyakaa and Hightower appear in the volume’s section titled “That Which Holds Us Together, That Which Pulls Us Apart,” which features work that speaks to the idea of America, exploring what it means to be American, and who gets to define what it is a “hero,” a “patriot,” or a “traitor.”