Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry: American Poets)
Born in Rochester, New York, Cornelius Eady began writing poems when he was only twelve. As chronicled in You Don’t Miss Your Water, Eady’s father posed a formidable problem for the aspiring poet. High-school educated, Eady’s father, employed by the city water department, had difficulty accepting literature as a valid vocation. Consequently, Eady would struggle with feelings of estrangement until his father’s death in 1993. After graduating from Empire State College and then earning his M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College, Eady held teaching appointments at Sweet Briar College, the College of William and Mary, Sarah Lawrence College, Tougaloo College, and City College of New York. While at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the 1990’s, he served as director of its famous poetry center. In 1999, Eady became distinguished writer-in-residence in the M.F.A. program at New York City’s innovative New School. He later joined the faculty of Notre Dame University as associate professor in English and director of the creative writing program. In 1996, along with poet Toi Derricotte, Eady founded the Cave Canem (literally, “Beware of the Dog”), a popular program of summer workshops for African American poets.