Toi Derricotte’s latest poetry collection ‘I’ longlisted for National Book Award

Toi Derricotte, Pitt professor emerita in writing and co-founder of Cave Canem, has had her newest book, “ ‘I’: New and Selected Poems,” longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry.  

Book cover of "I" by Toi Derricotte“I” was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press and Pitt Poetry Series in March 2019. It features nearly three dozen new poems, plus selections from Derricotte’s previous collections, including “The Empress of the Death House,” “Natural Birth,” “Captivity,” “The Undertaker’s Daughter” and “Tender,” winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize.

Publishers Weekly praised the new collection by saying, “This retrospective volume unflinchingly explores the author’s complex experiences as a light-skinned black woman in America.”

Derricotte is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, among other honors.

She also was recently recognized by the Modern Language Association with its Phyllis Franklin Award for Public Advocacy of the Humanities.

Derricotte received the award along with her colleague Cornelius Eady, with whom she co-founded Cave Canem, a national poetry organization that cultivates “the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.”

The National Book Award for Poetry is one of four annual awards given by the National Book Foundation to recognize outstanding literary work by U.S. citizens.

The longlist of nominees includes nine other collections of poetry, including “The Tradition” by Jericho Brown and “Deaf Republic” by Ilya Kaminsky. The finalists will be announced on Oct. 8.