Yusef Komunyakaa (M.A., ’78) is a world-renowned poet. He received a Bronze Star for his service as managing editor of the Southern Cross military newspaper during the Vietnam War. Among his many awards for poetry are the Pulitzer Prize, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, William Faulkner Prize, Hanes Poetry Prize, and Wallace Stevens Award. Komunyakaa holds the Distinguished Senior Poet chair at New York University. In 2017, the National Portrait Gallery commissioned him to write a poem honoring American soldiers; “After the Burn Pits” is part of “The Faces of Battle” exhibition.