- Adebe DeRango-Adem
was born in Dover, Delaware to Mary Isabel Williston and former Air Force pilot Cyrus Cassells, Jr. Raised in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles, Cassells attended Antelope High School where he graduated in 1975, and went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Broadcasting from Stanford University four years later. His career in poetry began when he landed a job creating poetry filmstrips in the film division of a publishing house. During this experience, nationally acclaimed poet Al Young called to tell him his winning manuscript had been selected for publication for the 1981 National Poetry Series competition. The manuscript would evolve to become The Mud Actor, a full-length poetry collection that identified Cassells as a new literary voice that was at once panoramic and international in spirit.
Inclusion in the National Poetry Series yielded Cassells a poetry fellowship in Provincetown Massachusetts but halfway ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.