Cornelius Eady was born in 1954 in Rochester, New York. He is the author of eight books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Hardheaded Weather (Penguin, 2008), which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Victims of the Latest Dance Craze (Ommation Press, 1986), winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and The Gathering of My Name (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1991), which was nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.
In addition to poetry, Eady has also worked in theater, writing the libretto for an opera, Running Man, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1999. His play, Brutal Imagination, won Newsday’s Oppenheimer award in 2002. Eady’s band, Rough Magic, is a New York-based undertaking sprung from his long and celebrated literary life, and from his desire to extend the boundaries of language expression to include the songs he had produced over the years and those that had emerged from a renewal of his musical creativity.
With poet Toi Derricote, Eady is cofounder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. In addition to an annual writing retreat at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, programs include two book prizes with prestigious presses; workshops in New York City and Pittsburgh; nationally based readings and panels; and the publication of three anthologies: Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (University of Michigan Press, 2006), The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (University of Georgia Press, 2007) and Cave Canem Anthology XII: Poems 2008-2009 (Willow Books, 2011).
Eady has been a teacher for more than twenty years, holding positions at SUNY Stony Brook, New York University, and The College of William and Mary. He is currently a professor at Notre Dame University. Eady is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature (1985); a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, (1993); a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Traveling Scholarship to Tougaloo College in Mississippi (1992-1993); a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, (1993); and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award (1994).
“What is beautiful about Eady’s work is the way in which the poems themselves become envelopes, containers for the elegant missives of his characters’ voices—not angry in their tone, but piercing, quiet, intelligent—reflections of Cornelius Eady’s wonderfully restless spirit.” —Ploughshares
“Cornelius Eady’s poems are joyous, incantatory, experiential. [His] work is a glossary of earthly objects and human events, and his linguistic responses provide pleasure even when they are provoked by injustice, or by pain, or by loss.” —Dia Art Foundation
“Like his poetry, Eady’s songs offer a collective snapshot of the culture of our times, at once exhilarating & heartbreaking, seen through a lens that spares no dark corners.” —Sammy Greenspan, Kattywompus Press
2016 Get Lit! Events
- Friday, April 15 7:00pm