Toi Derricotte, co-founder of Cave Canem writing workshop for African-American poets and Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, will read from her poetry on Feb. 12 at Babson’s Sorenson Center for the Arts at 7:30pm. The event is free and the public is welcome.
Her poetry collections are The Empress of the Death House, Natural Birth, Captivity, Tender, and The Undertaker’s Daughter, published between 1978 and 2011. These collections are deeply interested in race, gender, violence, fertility, family life and many other concerns, in language and form that “blend personal history, invention and reportage” (Publishers Weekly). Her prose autobiography The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey (1997) draws on diary and notebook entries from two decades. It explores the identity of a light-skinned black woman frequently mistaken for white and occasionally opting to pass as such. This autobiography was a New York Times Notable Book.
Among Toi Derricotte’s many awards are the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America; the Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Guggenheim Foundation.