News Release: Arts and Humanities, Events, Student Life

Mar. 11,  2011

Poets Derricotte, Eady to Give Free Reading at Emory

Toi Derricotte Koolish Toi Derricotte

Eady Cornelius Eady

Poets Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady will give a free reading at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at the at Emory University’s Woodruff Library. The two noted poets co-founded Cave Canem, a nonprofit organization fostering the talents of African American poets, in 1996.

The reading will take place in the Jones Room on Level 3 of the Woodruff Library, 540 Asbury Circle, Atlanta, 30322. A selection of books and a limited-edition broadside will be available for purchase and signing at the reading.

“Cave Canem has revolutionized the world of poetry, not only through support for the arts and the building of community, but in its First Book Prize,” says poet Kevin Young, curator of literary collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at the Emory Libraries’ Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL).

“It is no accident that the first Cave Canem prize went to Emory’s own Natasha Trethewey, who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize,” Young adds. “Besides its founders being two of the best poets – and readers – working today, Derricotte and Eady’s Cave Canem is the premier organization creating and confirming the place of black poetry today.”

Background on Derricotte

Derricotte’s books of poetry include “Tender” (1997), winner of the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize; “Captivity” (1989); “Natural Birth” (1983); and “The Empress of the Death House” (1978). Her literary memoir, “The Black Notebooks” (1997), won the 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She is working on a new book of poetry, “The Undertaker’s Daughter,” and is a professor in the creative writing department at the University of Pittsburgh.

Her poems, often autobiographical, address racism, identity, sexual issues and violence. In a review of “Tender,” Publishers Weekly noted, “Derricotte delivers frankness and hope through her thoughtful probing of encounters with complex racial and sexual relations.”

Background on Eady

Poet and playwright Eady is the author of eight books of poetry, including “Hardheaded Weather” (2008); “Brutal Imagination” (2001), a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award in Poetry; and “The Gathering of My Name” (1991), nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The recipient of multiple honors and fellowships, Eady is the Miller Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Eady frequently writes about race, family, and music, and his poems have a musical quality drawn from jazz and the blues. Kirkus Reviews declares “Eady’s touch is masterly,” and is proven in the breadth of his stirring work.

The event is part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series, sponsored by MARBL, the Hightower Fund and Emory’s Creative Writing Program. The theme for the 2010-2011 season is “Duets.”

For more information, call 404.727.6887, visit or e-mail Parking is available in the Fishburne Deck. View directions.


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