Thursday, February 18, 2010
Poem-of-the-Week: Cornelius Eady
............FOR BELL HOOKS
A warning one white friend hisses
To the one standing nearest to me
At an Upper West Side newsstand.
As if my ears
Could not cradle human speech.
This is the birth of a regret:
My surprise of the woman on my right
As I reach to buy a paper.
Where? becomes an Oh.
How they grin,
I am a close call, how they grin,
Pickpocket my ease,
Grin, then push off down the street.
Now I have the rest of Saturday.
Who will touch my hand,
Who will take my quarters,
These clots of syntax
Growing cold in the blush of my palm?
From Hardheaded Weather (Marian Wood/Putnam, 2008). Used by permission.
Cornelius Eady is co-founder (with Toi Derricote) of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets, and Associate Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at The University of Notre Dame. He is the author of six other books of poetry. His Victims of the Latest Dance Craze won the 1985 Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and his The Gathering of My Name was nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize. Additional honors include the Prairie Schooner Strousse Award, a 2002 Oppenheimer Award for the best first play by an American playwright, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Eady’s latest book of poems, Hardheaded Weather (Marian Wood/Putnam, 2008), was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Image Award.
Eady will be featured at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 10-13, 2010 in Washington, DC. The festival will present readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism—four days of creative transformation as we imagine a way forward, hone our community and activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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