Comparing Yusef Komunyakaa's Slam, Dunk And Hook

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In Yusef Komunyakaa's poem “Slam, Dunk and Hook,” Komunyakaa utilizes allusions and powerful imagery to illustrate the connection between life on the ball court and its effect and impact on the players lives. The poets use of diction sets up a strong vision of the game and the court but also showcases the struggles the players face off the court. Yusef Komunyakaa's word choice creates a scene to make the reader feel like he or she is in the audience watching the game. The imagery pumps the reader up, the diction creating fast paced rhythm. In lines 11-13 “A high note hung there/ A long second Off/ the rim,” the poet creates suspense, the reader is hung in the moment, just as if a audience member would be on the edge of their seat. The continuation of the sentence in line 11 onto the next break is the moment the reader is holding their breath. The enjambment is what creates the suspense. The fast paced game like pulse set throughout the poem comes from words like “sprung rhythm,” “exploded,” and “tangled up in a falling.” The diction adds to the upbeat and intense tone in the poem. The diction not only sets up the scene but it also leads the reader to believe that there is nothing better than being a player of the sport. “...we could almost/Last forever,…show more content…
In lines 29-31, “Trouble/ Was there slapping a blackjack/ Against an open palm” suggests that the players faced problems bigger than the problems they faced on court. While playing basketball, they were able to maneuver their way out of a predicament but the use of the word “slapping” indicates that the problems they face off the court are constant and continuous, such as the grief of losing a loved one of living in a racist society. These problems hit the players hard without allowing them time to find a solution, as they can do so on the court. I believe that is why the game is so therapeutic to the players, they have full control over their

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