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Brutal Imagination Pa

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  234 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Brutal Imagination is the work of a poet at the peak of his considerable powers. Its two central sections--which could be called song cycles--confront the same subject: the black man in America.The first, which carries the book's title, deals with the vision of the black man in white imagination. Narrated largely by the black kidnapper that Susan Smith invented to cover up ...more
ebook, 128 pages
Published January 15th 2001 by Putnam Adult (first published 2001)
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Amanda Bosky
Cornelius Eady was a huge influence on me--he did a poetry workshop at my elementary school when I was very young and he has loomed large in my mind ever since.

This book includes two collections of poems which each narrate a story. "Brutal Imagination" is from the point of view of the fictional black man invented by a white woman who blamed him for drowning her children. "Running Man" is a series of family recollections post-death as they speculate, justify, mourn and try to understand who thei
...more
Tea
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 lef ...more
Steven
The first brilliant decision made in putting together this book was deciding to juxtapose two seemingly disparate narratives to provide a complete picture of the pressures and dangers of being an African-American man in the United States. The first section, written in the voice of the fictitious black kidnapper Susan Smith invented to cover-up the killing of her two children, is a blazing criticism of white America's view of African American men. It digs deep into our cultural associations of Af ...more
Paula
This books is split into two sections. The first covers a poem cycle that reflects on Susan Smith's invented story of a black man stealing her car and murdering her children. This cycle is divided into four sections, three of which coming from the perspective of the black man she fabricated. (The second section is told from various members of the black community about their roles as black citizens.) For me, the most powerful and provocative are the first and last sections of the cycle.

The second
...more
Gerry LaFemina
Just reread this book for the first time in a dozen years with my poetry book group: Eady's ability to give life and pathos to the imagined killer of Susan Smith's children in precise lyrics is compelling; and the multiple voices of the book's second half--variants of a libretto on the life story of young successful hood--show him to be not just a fine craftsman but also a poet with great command of what makes us human.
W.B.
Feb 08, 2008 W.B. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I thought this book was brilliant in the way it took horrible cultural liabilities (early 20th century representations of black America in adveritising) and turned them into speaking personae to address contemporary America.

It played with beings that don't exist; it let them speak. Also brilliant was his "incarnation" of the imaginary black man Susan Smith blamed when she murdered her children. Eady created a really powerful poem around that deeply disturbing shared cultural experience.

I was re
...more
Claire
This is a fascinating book of poems, lent to me by my dear friend Susie Meserve who took off on a plane to Norway before I could get it back to her!! More than half the book is about the mythical "black man" that Susan Smith indicted to cover up her own murder of her children. While I think that the voice could have been eerier, could have gone a little further, taken more twists and turns to disrupt the consciousness of the reader, the concept is bold and daring and necessary and makes an impor ...more
Tara Jay
The first half of this collection, told from the perspective of the Black man Susan Smith invented to blame for her murder of her own children, has a haunting quality - the poems feel as if they're narrated by ghosts, something real but that shifts away when you catch a glimpse of it from the corner of your eye. The reality of this spector and its consequences for Black men (which Eady details more in the second half of the collection) is impossible to deny, even as Eady refuses to bring his ima ...more
Wizzard
I had forgotten about the "Running Man" poems when I checked this book out from the library and only remembered the Susan Smith poems of the first half. The poems of the second half have a compelling narrative arc that gives its own meaning to the title "Brutal Imagination." I was looking to read how Eady used the series of poems to tell a narration and I was not disappointed. The language is sparse and evocative. "Running Man" kept surprising me with each new poem. A good read!
Kristy
Nov 11, 2008 Kristy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for something different.
I never really had a liking for poetry until I found narrative poetry which is evident in this book. Eady's chronological sense of tying everything together through poetry is impeccable and this is the first book of poetry I picked up that I actually liked. It speaks of so many important controversial issues such as abduction, homicide, and race that are resembled in all of these poems. It would even be a great book for justice studies!
Denali
Brutal Imagination is a phenomenal poem. Using the Susan Smith case as a point of departure Eady writes about the non existent carjacker using him as a vessel for fear, mistrust, and racism in modern America but also as an achingly real human with a dark sense of humor, curiosity about the people who have phoned in sightings of him, and (most heartrending of all) a deep tie with Smith herself.

Evan
Individually, the poems in the first half ("Brutal Imagination") are not brilliant. Together, however, they create a fantastic arc that transcends the simple "everyone is racist" conclusion that this subject could offer.

The Running Man poems were okay. I am curious to read more by Eady, so that in itself is a good sign.
Gerardo
This books makes me think about the imagination that people in general have in order to convince a whole social group to believe something that it is not true. Eady's captures the bias, and stereotypes that exist in the world. Really captive and truthful. It is really a changing point of view. It Rocks!
Josh
Jun 25, 2011 Josh marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer-prize
Well, this book itself wasn't a Pulitzer finalist, but the Running Man poem cycle in this book was later adapted into a musical of the same name, which was a finalist and doesn't appear to have been published yet. So for now this one goes in my Pulitzer shelf.
h
heartbreaking and direct book of poems about race relations in america from the inside out, cut from the cloth of THE INVISIBLE MAN. highly recommended reading for anyone interested in language, class, race, and social constructions of identity.
Donnie
Jul 31, 2007 Donnie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: poetry
Penetrating and powerful. Eady assumes the identity of a fictitious African American murderer a white woman created to explain the death of her two children she murdered...wow that's a mouthful. Its chilling.
Donnelle
C. Eady - my first encounter with this poet - this book lays it out - what it can/may be/feel like being a black man in white america - Eady goes deep here - a good read - check it out if you have yet to do so.
Abraham
twinkles where MACNOLIA shines. A book that seems to be not much better than the description of the book. I dislike it only slightly less than Nick Carbo's Secret Asian Man for the same reasons.
Dawnelle Wilkie
A disturbing and beautiful short collection of poems from one of our greatest living poets. The poems will stay with you and make you view the world differently.
Donna Rae
Couldn't put it down was in the middle of another book but couldn't stop this once I picked it up. Made me think. especially the first half
Tris Harding
i wish i could give a 3.5, because the first half was a 4 and the second half was a 3, but the second half was longer so...
Jon-michael
well i like this book lots because it is all bassed on a black mans life whyll growing up. it is amazing
Seven
i am going to reread this book. will get back to ya'll later.
Peter
From the page to his voice is a big and wonderful leap.
Jerman
The title says it all... almost. Powerful.
Britt
Brutal Imagination - 4/5
Running Man - 5/5
Sherry Quan
I think everyone should read this book.
Aichlee
a brilliant concept for a poem cycle.
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Like Joyce and Tolstoy, Cornelius Eady is an American writer focusing largely on matters of race and society, His poetry often centers on jazz and blues, family life, violence, and societal problems stemming from questions of race and class. His poetry is often praised for its simple and approachable language.
More about Cornelius Eady...
You Don't Miss Your Water: Poems Hardheaded Weather: New and Selected Poems Victims of the Latest Dance Craze The Gathering of My Name (Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series) The Autobiography of a Jukebox

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