Saturday, August 5, 2023

Cornelius Eady, Ta-Nehisi Coates, poems, and a comic book arc

A few years back when I was reading Ta-Nehisi Coates's run on the comic book Black Panther, I somehow overlooked his nod to poet Cornelius Eady. But there it is. Coates titled one story arc of 6 issues, published from December 2018 - May 2019, as "The Gathering of My Name." 
Eady published his volume The Gathering of My Name in 1991. 

In 1997, the Jenny McKean Moore Fund brought Eady to Washington DC to conduct free writing workshops at George Washington University. Coates, then a reporter for the Washington City Paper, did an interview and published an article on Eady. Among other works, Coates references Eady's The Gathering of My Name.  

In 2009, while blogging for The Atlantic, Coates applied the title of Eady's volume for a blog entry title and then spoke a little more on Eady's poetry in a subsequent post. Referring to his initial post, Coates wrote, "I should mention that I stole that title from the great poet Cornelius Eady."

In 2011, Coates used the title of Eady's poem again for the title of a blog entry where he was mentioning genealogical research.

In the Black Panther arc, T'Challa is in a distant (alternate?) universe, and he's slowly re-discovering who he is. The use of "gathering of my name" thus connects to that overall theme. 

Before he was a comic book writer, before he was a best-selling author and journalist, one of Coates's earliest ambitions was to become a rapper. After that, he wanted to become a poet. He kept reading, and thus you sometimes come across references to Black poets in his various projects.


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