Toi Derricotte

"Derricotte's poems push readers and practitioners into the hard work of seeing with rigor, intelligence, and grace. Her intellect and imagination continue to forge new territory in the field of poetry, challenging what we think a poem might be and what we think it might do in the world."


Dan Chiasson, Aracelis Girmay & A. Van Jordan, PEN/Voelcker Award Citation

 

 

 

Biography

 

Long Bio
Toi Derricotte is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently, The Undertaker's Daughter (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), described by Natasha Trethewey as “a courageous act of healing and redemption… proving again that art is as much about beauty as it is about reckoning, empathy, and self-discovery.” An earlier collection of poems, Tender, won the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize; and her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks (W.W. Norton), received the 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

 

Recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, Derricotte’s honors include the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement; the 2012 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry for a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work represents a notable presence in American literature; the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America; two Pushcart Prizes; the Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists; the Alumni/Alumnae Award from New York University; the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, Inc.; the Elizabeth Kray Award for service to the field of poetry from Poets House; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council.

 

More than one-thousand of Derricotte’s poems have been published in magazines and journals, including The New YorkerAmerican Poetry ReviewCallaloo and The Paris Review. Her essay "Beds" is included in The Best American Essays 2011, edited by Edwidge Danticat, and "Beginning Dialogues" appears in The Best American Essays 2006, edited by Lauren Slater. With Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem Foundation, the nation’s premier “home for Black poetry.” Professor Emerita at the University of Pittsburgh, she serves on the Academy of American Poets' Board of Chancellors.

 

Brief Bio
Toi Derricotte is the author of The Undertaker’s Daughter (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011) and four earlier collections of poetry, including Tender, winner of the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize. Her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks (W.W. Norton), received the 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her honors include, among many others, the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement, the 2012 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, two Pushcart Prizes and the Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists. Derricotte is the co-founder of Cave Canem Foundation (with Cornelius Eady), Professor Emerita at the University of Pittsburgh and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

 

 

 

 

Awards

 

The PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry (2012)

Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, The Undertaker’s Daughter (2012)

Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania (2009)

Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists

Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, Inc. (2008)

The Distinguished Alumni/Alumnae Award from New York University Graduate School of Arts and Science (2008)

The Elizabeth Kray Award for Service to Poetry from Poets House (2008)

The Rockefeller Foundation, fellowship (2006)

The Guggenheim Foundation, fellowship (2004)

The Pushcart Prize (1998)

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Black Notebooks (1997)

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award in nonfiction, The Black Notebooks (1997)

Nominated for the PEN Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir, The Black Notebooks (1997)

New York Times Notable Book of the Year, The Black Notebooks (1997)

Winner of the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize, Tender (1997)

The National Endowment for the Arts, fellowship in poetry (1990)

The Columbia Book Award from the Poetry Committee Book of the Greater Washington, D.C., Captivity (1989)

The Pushcart Prize (1989)

The National Endowment for the Arts, fellowship in poetry (1985)

The Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from Poetry Society of America.

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Collections of Poetry

The Undertaker’s Daughter; University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011

Tender; University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997

Captivity; University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989; second printing, 1991; third printing, 1993; fourth printing, 1995

Natural Birth; The Crossing Press, 1983; republished by Firebrand Press, 2000

The Empress of the Death House; Lotus Press, 1978; second printing, 1989

 

Memoir

Bread on the Water: Recollections of a “Li’L Half-White, Stuck-up Nigga Girl,” by Antonia Baquet; eds. Toi Derricotte & Ellen Smith; self-published, 2007

Noire, la Couleur de ma Peau Blanche; Kiron/Editions du Félin, 2000; translation of The Black
Notebooks
into French by Phillippe Moreau

The Black Notebooks; W. W. Norton & Company, 1997

 

Poetry Anthology

Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade; eds. Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady, asst. ed. Camille Dungy; University of Michigan Press, 2006

 

Selected Anthologies

Women’s Work; eds. Eva Salzman & Amy Wack; Seren Press, 2009

250 Poems: A Portable Anthology; eds. Peter Schakel & Jack Ridl; Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2009

Poems from the Women’s Movement; ed. Honor Moore, American Poets Project; The Library of America, 2009

Poems of Nature; ed. William Roetzheim; Level 4 Press Inc., 2009

When She Named Fire: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by American Women; ed. Andrea Hollander Budy; Autumn House Press 2008

The Sixth Wave; eds. Quraysh Ali Lansana & Toni Asante Lightfoot; Just Us Books Inc., 2008

Persimmon Tree, An Online Literary Magazine; ed. Chana Bloch; 2008

Mobius, The Poetry Magazine, 25th Anniversary Edition;
ed. Juanita Torrence-Thompson; 2007

Dark Horses: Poets on Overlooked Poems; eds. Joy Katz & Kevin Prufer; University of Illinois Press, 2007

Not for Mothers Only: Contemporary Poems on Child-Getting and Child-Rearing; eds. Catherine Wagner & Rebecca Wolff; University Press of New England, 2007

An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry, Joyful Noise; ed. Robert Strong; Autumn House Press, 2007

After the Bell, Contemporary American Prose about School; eds. Maggie Anderson & David Hassler; University of Iowa Press, 2007

Mobius, The Poetry Magazine; ed. Juanita Torrence-Thompson; September 2006

The Best American Essays 2006;<;/span> ed. Laurie Slater; Houghton Mifflin, 2006

Lifelines, New and Collected Letters from Famous People About Their Favourite Poem; ed. Niall MacMonagle; Town House Dublin, 2006

 

 

 

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