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Crows in a Strong Wind - Cornelius Eady

Many of Cornelius Eady’s poems reference jazz, music and dance. This is what draws me to his work - a deep awareness of the internal rhythms that slip through the interstices of the different arts. His writing (and his activism and pedagogic work) is often contextualised withing the personal struggles unique to the African American experience. “I really enjoy the idea of the language that’s inside of music itself. The idea that maybe when you hear a jazz solo, or when you’re hearing a good saxophonist, or a guitarist, that you’re actually hearing that person’s story.” His language is accessible, tone direct, often slipping into a single moment, a tableaux of sorrow, dissent or romance, and using dialogue as a foundation. What is of particular interest in the poem I share today, is the cutting of lines and the repetition that spirals into a no-fuss crescendo. It is a poem that slips into the silence of that familiar last stanza revelation, which is a device loved and adopted by so many poets, and readers.

The poet June Jordan puts it so beautifully:


“[Eady] leads and then cuts a line like no one else: following the laughter and the compassionate path of a dauntless imagination, these poems beeline or zigzag always to the jugular.”


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