Copage, Eric V.
COPAGE, Eric V.
Male. Education: Earned degree in ethnomusicology.
Home—Montclair, NJ. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Plume, Penguin Putnam, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
Author and editor. New York Times Magazine, New York, NY, editor.
Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking, illustrations by Cheryl Carrington, William Morrow and Co. (New York, NY), 1991.
Black Pearls: Daily Meditations, Affirmations, and Inspirations for African Americans, William Morrow and Co. (New York, NY), 1993.
Black Pearls for Parents: Meditations, Affirmations, and Inspirations for African-American Parents, Quill (New York, NY), 1995.
Black Pearls Journal, William Morrow and Co. (New York, NY), 1995.
A Kwanzaa Fable, William Morrow and Co. (New York, NY), 1995.
Black Pearls of Love: Romantic Meditations and Inspirations for African Americans, Quill (New York, NY), 1996.
Soul Food: 105 Inspirational Stories for African Americans, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2000.
Soulmates: An Illustrated Guide to Black Love, Sex, and Romance, Plume (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor to Life, New York Daily News and Essence. Also compiler and editor of Kwanzaa Music (sound recording), Rounder Records (Cambridge, MA), 1994.
A New York Times Magazine editor, Eric V. Copage is also the author of books on African-American life and culture. Several of his works focus on the holiday Kwanzaa. The word "kwanzaa" means "first fruits of the harvest" in Swahili, and hearkens back to first-fruits celebrations that have occurred in Africa from ancient Egyptian and Nubian times to the present. Copage's Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking uses folk tales, proverbs, and recipes to promote the holiday. Along with the information on African-American food, the book also includes anecdotes and facts about historical figures such as Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, and Berry Gordy. Recipes for food and beverages come from areas such as Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and America. However, the "recipes, as wonderful as they are, are secondary to the information about this holiday," stated Paul McKendrick in School Library Journal. "Mr. Copage has written the best celebration of a holiday I've ever read," commented Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor in the New York Times Book Review.
In Black Pearls: Daily Meditations, Affirmations, and Inspirations for African Americans, Copage stresses action and a positive attitude, and provides practical advice that can be directly applied to life. The book addresses one important issue per day, and seeks to help African Americans transform negative emotions and outlooks into positive ones. Quotes from notable blacks illustrate the concepts, and each day's lesson wraps up with a call to action designed to boost confidence and urge readers toward their goals. Although directed at issues of particular relevance to black Americans, "the meditations are deeply human, [and] applicable to anyone" in need of inspiration, commented a reviewer in Library Journal.
In Soul Food: 105 Inspirational Stories for African Americans Copage once again offers a wealth of material intended to motivate and inspire African-American readers. The contents offer "a literary collage of stories, poetry, and fables in a chicken-soupish volume that provides a hearty buffet of inspiration in bite-size morsels," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. The anecdotes and tales cover topics related to family, creativity, wisdom, faith, self-esteem, love, and more. Celebrities such as Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, and Queen Latifah offer stories focusing on their personal priorities. Nashad L. Warfield, writing in Black Enterprise, stated that "Copage weaves a colorful and diverse tapestry of anecdotes that are sure to stir the spirit and refresh our memory of the things that are most important in life."
In addition to nonfiction, Copage is also the author of a children's novel. After thirteen-year-old Jordan's father dies in A Kwanzaa Fable, he struggles to come to terms with his new responsibilities. Jordan's grandmother relies on him to help care for his two younger siblings, but he frequently finds himself torn between helping his grandmother and playing with his rowdy friends. A shopkeeper in the neighborhood sees Jordan's conflict, and introduces him to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. A Kwanzaa Fable "is an inspirational urban tale for the entire family," commented a reviewer in Skanner.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Black Enterprise, September, 2000, Nashad L. Warfield, review of Soul Food: 105 Inspirational Stories for African Americans, p. 201.
HealthQuest, August 31, 1994, Sara Lomax Reese, review of Black Pearls: Daily Meditations, Affirmations, and Inspirations for African Americans, p. 71.
Library Journal, February 1, 1993, review of Black Pearls, pp. 87-88.
New York Times Book Review, December 15, 1991, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, review of Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking, p. 22.
People, December 2, 1991, V. R. Peterson, review of Kwanzaa, p. 57.
Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2000, review of Soul Food, p. 76.
Quarterly Black Review of Books, February 28, 1994, Donna Marie Johns, review of Black Pearls, p. 18.
School Library Journal, April, 1992, Paul McKendrick, review of Kwanzaa, p. 165.
Skanner, November 22, 1995, review of A Kwanzaa Fable, p. 13.*