Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
FURTHER READING
Related Prose
Dear Poet: A Letter from Kaitlyn G. to Toi Derricotte
Related Pages
Reading Recommendations
Related Events
THE VOICE OF WOMEN IN AMERICAN POETRY with Toi Derricotte, Marilyn Chin, and Percival Everett
External Links
Cave Canem
A home for black poetry since 1996.
Passing: A black poet and teacher chronicles life in a white world.
A review of her book
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print
Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte

On April 12, 1941, Toi Derricotte was born in Hamtramck, Michigan. She earned her BA in special education from Wayne State University and her MA in English literature from New York University.

Her books of poetry include The Undertaker's Daughter (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011); Tender (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), which won the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize; Captivity (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989); Natural Birth (Crossing Press, 1983); and The Empress of the Death House (Lotus Press, 1978). She is also the author of a literary memoir, The Black Notebooks (W.W. Norton, 1997), which won the 1998 Annisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction.

Together with Cornelius Eady, in 1996, she cofounded the Cave Canem Foundation, a national poetry organization committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.

About her work, the poet Sharon Olds has said, "Toi Derricotte's poems show us our underlife, tender and dreadful. And they are vibrant poems, poems in the voice of the living creature, the one who escaped—and paused, and turned back, and saw, and cried out. This is one of the most beautiful and necessary voices in American poetry today."

Her honors include the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, the Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists, the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement for Previous Winners of The Paterson Poetry Prize, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

She was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2012 and is currently a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.


Bibliography

The Undertaker's Daughter (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011)
Tender (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997)
Captivity (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989)
Natural Birth (Crossing Press, 1983)
The Empress of the Death House (Lotus Press, 1978)


Multimedia

From the Image Archive
Poems by
Toi Derricotte

Cherry blossoms
Elegy for my husband
In Knowledge of Young Boys
Love Story in Black and White
The Weakness

Prose by
Toi Derricotte

Mother Knows Best: Christmas Eve: My Mother Dressing
The Bond of Living Things: Poems of Ancestry

Want more poetry?
Sign up to receive our
monthly update emails.


Support independent booksellers
Make your purchase online through IndieBound or find a local bookstore on the National Poetry Map.


Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.