Cornelius Eady is the author of seven books of poetry and two
librettos. Praised for his approachable and simple language, Eady captures
the emotional vulnerability of life in a clean, elegant style. He has
received several awards for his poetry, including the Prairie Schooner Strousse
Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment
for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Lila Wallace-Reader's
Digest Foundation. Never diverting his attention from the African-American
experience, Eady addresses the vision of the black man in white imagination
with what Booklist calls "tremendous verve, drama, compassion,
Born in Rochester, New York, Eady is a New York City poet. His first book of
poetry, Kartunes, was published in 1980. Subsequent books include Victims
of the Latest Dance Craze, winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy
of American Poets, The Gathering of My Name, nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer
Prize, You Don't Miss Your Water, and The Autobiography of a Jukebox.
His most recent book is titled Brutal Imagination, and is narrated largely
by the black kidnapper invented by Susan Smith to cover up the killing of her
two young sons. Widely anthologized, Eady has also collaborated with composer
Diedre Murray to write two music-dramas, You Don't Miss Your Water and Running
Man,, a 1999 Pulitzer Prize finalist. With Toi Derricotte, Eady founded Cave
Canem, which offers workshops and retreats for African-American poets.
Described as "the heir of Langston Hughes" by The Southern Review, much
of Eady's work celebrates Harlem, offering, as Leslie Ullman writes, "brief glimpses
of urban life, meditations to jazz and blues music, and a quiet, crystalline
sort of anger." His poems also address the experiences of the African-American
family threatened by barriers of color and class. Brighde Mullins declares Eady's
work to be "joyous, incantatory, experiential. A verbo-visual kinesis radiates
from his … poems."
Cornelius Eady has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, The
Writer's Voice, the 92nd St. Y, The College of William and Mary, and Sweet Briar
College. Formerly Associate Professor of English and Director of the Poetry Center
at SUNY Stony Brook, Eady is currently Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the
City College of New York.