Toi Derricotte is the author of “I”: New and Selected Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award; The Undertaker’s Daughter (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011); Natural Birth (Firebrand Books, 2000); Tender (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize; and Captivity (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989). She is also the author of The Black Notebooks (W.W. Norton, 1999), winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Nonfiction.
She is the recipient of three Pushcart Prizes, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, among other honors.
She is also the founder, along with poet Cornelius Eady, of Cave Canem, the preeminent organization devoted to the development and support of Black poetry in the United States. Cave Canem’s work has changed the landscape of American poetry. A mentor to a generation of Black poets, she has been awarded the National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award for service to the literary community, and the Elizabeth Kray Award for service to the field of poetry from Poets House.
Derricotte is professor emerita at the University of Pittsburgh, and a former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Born and raised in Detroit, she currently lives in Pittsburgh.