Yusef Komunyakaa was born in rural Louisiana, the son of a carpenter. His numerous poetry collections include Dien Cai Dau, a stark portrayal of the Vietnam War, for which he served as a correspondent; Neon Vernacular, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Pulitzer Prize; and Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth: New and Selected Poems 2001–2021 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021). His honors include the Wallace Stevens Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the William Faulkner Prize. Komunyakaa earned an MFA from the University of California–Irvine and is a senior faculty member in the New York University Creative Writing Program.
Laren McClung is the author of the poetry collection Between Here and Monkey Mountain and coeditor of the anthology Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees. She served as the fortieth poet laureate of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and teaches at New York University