credit: Susan Johann

credit: Susan Johann


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Carl Hancock Rux is an award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, essayist and recording artist. He is the former head of the MFA Writing for Performance Program at the California Institute of the Arts (2006–09) and has taught or been in residence at the University of California–San Diego, Stanford University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Hollins University, the University of Iowa and Brown University.

Rux is the author of the novel, Asphalt, the OBIE Award winning play, Talk, and the Village Voice Literary prize-winning collection of poetry, Pagan Operetta.

Rux has also worked as a writer and frequent guest performer in dance, collaborating with Marlies Yearby's Movin' Spirits Dance Theater, Urban Bush Women, Jane Comfort & Co., Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Martha Clark. Rux received a BESSIE© award for his direction of the Lisa Jones/Alva Rogers dance musical, Stained. Rux originated the title role in the folk opera production of The Temptation of St. Anthony, directed by Robert Wilson with book, libretto and music by Bernice Johnson Reagon as part of the RuhrTriennale festival in Duisburg, Germany. The opera made its American premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music/ BAM Next Wave Festival in October 2004 and official world premiere at the Paris Opera, Garnier.

His film credits include The Grand Inquisitor (as The One) directed by Tony Torn, Brooklyn Boheme (documentary) and Migrations directed by Nelson George; The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: a film About Gil Scott-Heron (documentary) among others.

Rux is the subject of the Voices of America television documentary, Carl Hancock Rux, Coming of Age, recipient of the CINE Golden Eagle Award (Larry Clamage/Richard Maniscalo producers), was host and programming director of the WBAI radio show, Live from The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, contributing correspondent for XM radio's The Bob Edwards Show and frequent guest host on WNYC's Soundcheck. Rux co-wrote and narrated the radio documentary, Walt Whitman; Songs of Myself, awarded the New York Press Club Journalism Award for Entertainment News. Originally aired in 2005, Songs of Myself has been broadcasted annually, most recently on WNYC 93.9 FM on April 24, 2011.

In August 2007 Rux's "The Blackamoor Angel'' was performed as part of Bard Summerscape at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Rux joined forces with composer Deirdre Murray to reimagine the curious life of Angelo Soliman (1721- 1797). Born in what is known today as Cameroon, he was abducted by slave traders at a young age, eventually landing in Vienna and tutoring two emperors, reputedly rubbing elbows with Mozart in a Masonic lodge and married to a cousin of Napoleon Bonaparte. However, in death Soliman wound up as taxidermy–stuffed and showcased beside elephants and apes at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoological Garden.

To mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, WNYC's the Greene Space commissioned Rux to create and perform a spoken word piece meant to be a mosaic of remembrance of this historical event. Titled: A City Reimagined: Voices of 9/11 in Poetry and Performance, the piece was presented in partnership with The New Press and the Columbia Center for Oral History live in the Greene Space on September 7 & 8, 2011. Excerpts were subsequently aired on WKCR in NYC. Rux recited poetry he had crafted for the occasion. Actors Joan Allen, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Rocco Sisto, Peter Strauss, Rachel Ticotin, Ty Jones, Tamela Aldridge and Ishani Das read stories and remembrances excerpted from the Columbia Center for Oral History's and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy's collection of the accounts and observations of hundreds of people from diverse New York neighborhoods and backgrounds immediately after 9/11. The production featured live music from cellist/ trombonist Dana Leong and an art installation designed by Cey Adams.

It was Rux's return to the Greene Space after a memorable appearance in A Global Piano and Literary Salon: Bebop Spoken Here on May 12, 2011 where he had entranced the audience with an impromptu recitation accompanied by jazz pianist, Gerald Clayton.

Mr. Rux's last appeared onstage in the Foundry Theatre's production How Much is Enough? in its three week run at avante garde performance space, St. Ann's Warehouse last fall.

Mr. Rux was the curator of the WeDaPeoples Cabaret originally conceived by Sekou Sundiata and presented each September by Harlem Stage. Last fall the cabaret featured the comedienne and political satirist, Reno, and a mesmerizing performance by Nona Hendryx at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse.

His cds include Rux Revue (Sony/550), Apothecary Rx (Giant Step), Good Bread Alley (Thirsty Ear)  and Homeostasis (CD Baby).

He is the recipient of several awards including the Herb Alpert Prize, NYFA Prize, NYFA Gregory Millard Fellow, and NEA/TCG Artist-in-Residency Fellow. He is currently working on his new novel.

 credit: Scott Groller courtesy of CalArts photography

 credit: Scott Groller courtesy of CalArts photography


Carl Hancock Rux's work crosses the disciplines of poetry, theater, music, and literary fiction in order to achieve what one critic describes as a "dizzying oral artistry...unleashing a torrent of paper bag poetry and post modern Hip-Bop music; the ritualistic blues of self awakening."

On Record

Rux's critically acclaimed debut CD, Rux Revue (Sony Music), was voted one of the top ten alternative music CDs of 1998 (New York Times). His sophomore CD, Apothecary Rx was released on Giant Step Records in 2002 to similar plaudits from publications ranging from the NY Post and the LA Times to Paste and Ink 19.

On Stage 

With his powerful eleven piece band, Rux has brought down the house at festivals like Transmusicales in Rennes, France and Central Park Summerstage and at venues from the Jazz Café in London to the new Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal.


Mr. Rux is a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Prize; NYFA Gregory Millard Playwright in Residence Fellow; National Endowment for the Arts/Theater Communications Group Playwright in Residence Fellow; Bessie Schomburg award; and the coveted CalArts/Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.

Poetry and Prose

Mr. Rux is the author of several books including his first collection of poetry, Pagan Operetta (Fly By Night/Autonomedia Press), for which he received the Village Voice Literary prize; the OBIE award-winning play, Talk (TCG Press), and the novel, Asphalt (Atria/Simon & Schuster; Washington Sq. Press paperback).

Theater, Multi-Media and Dance

Mr. Rux has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad with his own performance works, including The No Black Male Show and a theatrical rendering of the novel, Asphalt. His multimedia piece, Mycenaean, ran for a week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival in October 2006. Rux has toured internationally, playing the title role in Robert Wilson and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon's musical adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's Temptation of St. Anthony. He has been commissioned to write and perform his text in collaboration with several dance companies, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Urban Bush Women, and Jane Comfort & Co., among others.


Published Works

Pagan Operetta (poetry & fiction)
Autonomedia, 1998
(Village Voice Literary prize)

Talk (drama)
TCG, 2003

Asphalt (novel)
Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2003

Aloud; Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (poetry)
Henry Holt, 1994

Selected Anthologies

Soul's Survival; Black Power, Politics and Pleasure (essays) NYU Press. 1998

Korper Lust Sprache (poetry)
Literatur zur Zeit Konzepte Press/ Berlin, Germany, 1995

Action! Nuyorican Theater Festival Anthology (play)
Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1995

Listen Up! Spoken Word Poetry (poetry)
One World/ Ballantine, 1998

Go The Way Your Blood Beats, (fiction)
Henry Holt, 1996

Open City Literary Journal (play)

NKA Literary Journal (poetry)

Poetry On Stage (poetry)
Poho Press, 1995

Fire & Spirit (African American Poetry )
Syracuse University Press, 1997

Beyond The Frontier (poetry)
Black Classic Press, 1998

Heights Of The Marvelous (poetry)
St. Martin's Press, 2000

Def Jam Poetry (poetry)
St. Martin's Press, 2001

Bum Rush The Page (poetry)
Three River Press, 2001

Everything But The Burden (essay)
Broadway Books/Random House, 2003

Articles Published IN...

Essence Magazine
Interview Magazine
aRude Magazine
Honey Magazine
New Word Magazine
Freedom Rag Magazine
Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art
Manhattan File Magazine

Selected Discography

Rux Revue Carl Hancock Rux/ Sony, 1999
(New York Times Critics List Top Ten Alternative Music, 1999)

Apothecary; Rx
Carl Hancock Rux/ Giant Step, 2003

Sweeper Don‚t Clean My Streets
Reg E. Gaines/ Mercury, 1995

Cornbread, Cognac, Collard Green Revolution Carl Hancock Rux/ Free Records, 1996

Bow Down to the Exit Sign
David Holmes/ Go Beat, 2000

Jon Brown; Thirty Years Coming
Jon Brown/ Bongload, 2000

Yoshiro Fukotomi/Sony Japan, 2001

DJ Spooky, Mathew Shipp/ BMG/2002

Lamentations (You, Son)
Carl Hancock Rux/Giant Step, 2001 (12 inch vinyl)