Summer 2021 | Cyrus Cassells | Vol. 5, Iss. 1
Welcome to The Fight & The Fiddle, a publication of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Each issue gives you a 360-degree view of a Black poet, including an interview, new poems, a critical essay, and a writing prompt inspired by our featured poet.
Cyrus Cassells is a lauded poet, translator and cultural critic. His poetry has been recognized with honors including a Guggenheim fellowship, the National Poetry Series Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, a Lannan Literary Award, two NEA grants, a Pushcart Prize, and the William Carlos Williams Award. His collection The Gospel according to Wild Indigo (2018), was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award, and his 1994 collection Soul Make A Path Through Shouting, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Cassells was also nominated for a Pulitzer for his work as a cultural critic for The Washington Spectator. His eighth book, The World That the Shooter Left Us, will be published by Four Way Books in March 2022. Cassells is a professor at Texas State, where he has taught for over 20 years, and he was recently appointed as the 2021 Texas State Artist-Poet Laureate.
- The Interview: Cyrus Cassells talks with editor Lauren K. Alleyne about the lyric, travel, and discovering the self in poetry.
- Critical Essay: Dr. Roger Reeves examines the spiritual, physical and linguistic dimensions of Cassells’ body of work in his essay, “Benedictus Qui Venit In Nomine Domini….And The Body.”
- Poems: Read “The Absence of the Witch Does Not Invalidate the Spell,” “Maples Anticipating Their Autumn Colors,” and “My Only Bible” by Cyrus Cassells.
- Writing Prompt: Crafting Hyphen-Bright Intensity: writing the layered and luminous poem.