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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eady makes you become another person
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...
Published on February 23, 2001

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6 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flat, unimaginative, pointless
What a silly premise for a book. One poem in the voice of the non-existent black man whom Susan Smith said took her sons, okay, maybe. A whole cycle? Ugh. Are blacks are oppressed; is racism insidious? Yes, of course, duh. But Eady has nothing to say except to repeat and repeat the sequence's only idea--"isn't it rotten that the bogeyman is imagined as black in this...
Published on February 15, 2001


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eady makes you become another person, February 23, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Brutal Imagination: Poems (Paperback)
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark and Bitter Truths--, September 19, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Brutal Imagination: Poems (Paperback)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for Poetry Lovers, October 24, 2002
This review is from: Brutal Imagination: Poems (Paperback)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, February 4, 2003
This review is from: Brutal Imagination: Poems (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking poems, December 28, 2001
By 
Amazon Customer (Englewood, NJ, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brutal Imagination (Hardcover)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars What Does Injustice Look Like?, March 24, 2014
By 
Grapes (Southeast USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brutal Imagination (Hardcover)
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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6 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flat, unimaginative, pointless, February 15, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Brutal Imagination: Poems (Paperback)
What a silly premise for a book. One poem in the voice of the non-existent black man whom Susan Smith said took her sons, okay, maybe. A whole cycle? Ugh. Are blacks are oppressed; is racism insidious? Yes, of course, duh. But Eady has nothing to say except to repeat and repeat the sequence's only idea--"isn't it rotten that the bogeyman is imagined as black in this racist world"--(to which I answer, "yeah, sure, and?") in uninspired language. The Running Man sequence unfortunately isn't much better. But I saw the musical that was made out of this sequence and at least on the page we're spared the silly preenings of actors convinced they're doing something revolutionary when in fact they're just rehashing rehashed material. Publisher's Weekly's comparison of Eady to Ai is way off: Ai's work is subtle, nuanced, complicated and well-written.
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Brutal Imagination: Poems
Brutal Imagination: Poems by Cornelius Eady (Paperback - January 15, 2001)
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