Brutal Imagination: Poems
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2001
Contrary to the first reviewer, I find the subject matter of this book ingenious. If the subject of race (and gender) is old and overdone, then why are black males wrongly accused on a daily basis of committing crimes they didn't commit? Why the constant suspicion of those who are different from us?
Even more important than the subject matter is the fact that this invisible, even non-existent, man's voice is convincingly and beautifully rendered. By writing about a man whom no one understands, who is conjured up at will from the darkest regions of white America's consciousness, I, as a white woman am able to relate on a visceral level, to recognize my own blindness and knee-jerk reactions, and also to identify with the character who has been marginalized.
This book is amazing for its refusal to judge evil. Instead of offering solutions, Eady gives us the opportunity to become other people, to live their lives and their truths. By the end of the book, my world seems a much bigger place than it did before I started reading.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2002
When Susan Smith murdered her young children, she blamed the crime on a black man. When Charles Stuart murdered his wife, he did the same. In the first half of this powerful collection, Cornelius Eady gives voice to this imaginary black man who so often acts as our collective scapegoat. The premise is brilliant, and the poems themselves are powerful--starkly musical and plainspoken.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2002
This is one of the jewels of my poetry collection. The poems--particularly the ones in which Eady takes the persona of the black man Susan Smith claimed kidnapped her children--are haunting, intelligent, and vivid.
I was lucky enough to hear Cornelius Eady read from this book in 2001--he has a great presence, and made the poems even more electrifying. Even if you can't get to an Eady reading, though, if you enjoy poetry--especially imaginative and/or sociopolitical poetry--you need to buy this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This collection is made up of two cycles of poems, both dealing with the black man in white America. The first is a cycle of poems narrated by the Imaginary black man Susan Smith invented to cover the killing of her two children. This collection is deep! It's so moving and so vivid it leaves you angry and pulls the heart strings.Eady paints such a picture you can see the tail lights slowly slipping into the water.
The second cycle is about a black family and the barriers of color. I had the pleasure of listening to Eady read from this collection as well as his work in progress. He is very moving. And like he said" The best thing about this is....there is no black man on death row right now for murder because of the imaginary black man she created". This is more than a collection of poetry. Brutal Imagination is the brilliant, stunning creation from one gifted writer.
Dawn
Mahogany reviewer
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2001
I love to read, but poetry isn't usually my first choice...or my second, or my third. In fact, I usually don't like to read poetry written by anybody over the age of 12, because it so often strikes me as pretentious and tiresome. In spite of this, I decided to take a class in African-American poetry just to see if I could gain a better appreciation for this form of art. I have, and Cornelius Eady is a huge part of this. Right before the last section of the semester, which included this book, and "On the Bus with Rosa Parks" by Rita Dove, I had become disillusioned by the poetry of such people as Audre Lorde. I felt that I just wasn't getting something, and was missing what it was that made poetry appeal to so many other people.
These feelings changed when I read the first section of "Brutal Imagination". It was like, "YES"!! Finally. Finally I not only understood what the poet was saying, but I also liked the way he was saying it. I don't pretend to be knowledgeable about the different movements in American/African-American poetry, but I feel like I'm 100% with whatever school Cornelius Eady represents. The first section of poems, which was written from the point of view of the mythical black man created by Susan Smith to explain the disappearance of her children, just touched me. I could so identify with this man, who was correctly identified as a person about whom others would believe the worst, because I know so many people who he could be. It's frightening to think of how little our "social advancements" in the area of interracial relations mean in the face of challenges by people like Susan Smith and Charles Stuart.
This book of poems is not just for black people, or Americans, or any one group of people; I even recommend it to those who don't even like poetry. Go ahead and read it, you might surprise yourself.
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on March 24, 2014
This is a startling book of poetry. Cornelius Eady's Brutal Imagination is about injustice. The poet uses two high profile cases to prove that sadly unfairness does live in our land of liberty. Brutal imagination is broken up into two parts. One part shows imagination can be used to expound hatred in our society. The other part of the poetry book is titled Running Man. It's a more general view of the hardships black men face in society. Cornelius Eady's poetry is splendid. Brutal Imagination left me hungry for more of his poetry. He is an award winning poet. [...]
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A stunning book. Absolutely brilliantly done. I usually don't cry reading poetry, but this book was very emotional. Cornelius does an amazing job of telling the story of a mother and the terrible thing she did. He treats her with compassion and actually at times makes me feel deeply compassionate for her; not just disgusted by her blaming...
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on April 19, 2015
It's so charming to see a poet reading their poems with the skills of an actor.
Cornelius Eady's topics include those of mindful/less violent, vulgar, portraits of race.
This is a person who presents ease, and alertness, in both performance and writings.
Get started again, by reading poetry by Cornelius Eady.
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on April 13, 2015
I didn't read the second half yet, but I really like the first half. These poems are really good and I recommend it. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because on the title page in the second half they spelled Running and Poems wrong.
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on December 31, 2014
Great collection of poems. In good condition.
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