Award winning and acclaimed poet Cornelius Eady, author of 6 books, and his band, Cornelius Eady Trio, will be reading and performing at 8 p.m., Thursday, November 9, in the Miller Theatre in the Bicknell Center for the Arts. The event is free, and is sponsored by the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series, the Student Fee Council, and the Tilford Group. A reception will follow.
Beyond poetry, Eady also works as a play writer and musician. His work focuses largely on matters of race and society, centering on jazz and blues, family life, violence, and social problems stemming from questions of race and class. According to Alexis Orgera of Drunken Boat, “Eady resurrects voices from the forced silences and willful deafness of America’s historical and contemporary landscape.” While Eady strives to be an artists that confronts the role of the African-American in American history, he also believes that his poetry in many ways transcends those themes to something more universal. About all poetry, he says “It’s about being a human being. Human experience. That’s all it is. It’s the common thread between every poet. Wordsworth to Emily Dickinson to Stephen Dobyns to Whitman to Tim Seibles, that’s the thread.”
Eady’s music, which comes in the form of the band Cornelius Eady Trio, tells the story of passing time, the Black American experience, and the blues in the style of Folk & Americana music. Guitarists Charlie Rauh & Lisa Liu join Eady to create layered and graceful arrangements to bolster Eady's adept craftsmanship as a songwriter, lyricist, and poet. According to Pittsburg State Professor Laura Lee Washburn, the event is “a unique opportunity to hear both music and poetry. Audiences usually only get opportunities like this in major metropolitan areas like New York. We're lucky to be able to bring this at no cost to the audience at the Bicknell Center."
Cornelius Eady was born in Rochester, NY in 1954, and is the author of several poetry collections: Kartunes; Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize; The Gathering of My Name, nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; You Don't Miss Your Water; The Autobiography of a Jukebox; Brutal Imagination, Hardheaded Weather (Putnam, 2008), and the anthologies Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep, In Search of Color Everywhere, and The Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry, (1750-2000). He wrote the libretto to Diedra Murray’s opera Running Man, which was short listed for the Pulitzer Prize in Theatre, and his verse play Brutal Imagination won the Oppenheimer Prize for the best first play from an American Playwright in 2001. His awards include Fellowships from the NEA, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Traveling Scholarship, and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award. He is co-founder of the Cave Canem Foundation, and was, before returning to Stony Brook, The Miller Family Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing and Professor in English and Theater at The University of Missouri-Columbia.
More information on Eady can be found at www.corneliuseady.com. More information on the Cornelius Eady Trio can be found at www.corneliuseadytrio.com.