Toi Derricotte: Celebration & Book Launch

Sunday, April 7, 2019 @ 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Free RSVP 2019-04-07 5 p.m. 2019-04-07 9 p.m. America/New_York Toi Derricotte: Celebration & Book Launch 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212 Alphabet City

Join us for a reading with Toi Derricotte celebrating the launch of her new poetry collection “I”: New and Selected Poems. After the reading, stay for a screening of Strong Words: The Art of Toi Derricotte. 

The program will include a short interlude between the reading and screening.

5 p.m. – Reading and Q&A
7 p.m. – Full documentary screening (Runtime: 2hrs 15min)*
*Tickets for the film screening portion of this program are now SOLD OUT.*

Light refreshments served before the screening!

Guests are invited to come to any portion of the program they please. So stay for a short time, or the whole evening. Please RSVP for the reading and the screening separately. 


The story of Toi Derricotte is a hero’s odyssey. It is the journey of a poetic voice that in each book earns her way to home, to her own commanding powers.

“I”: New and Selected Poems shows the reader both the closeness of the enemy and the poet’s inherent courage, inventiveness, and joy. It is a record of one woman’s response to the repressive and fracturing forces around the subjects of race, class, color, gender, and sexuality. Each poem is an act of victory, finding a path through repressive forces to speak with both beauty and truth.





Toi Derricotte is one of America’s premier poets, the author of five collections of poetry and a memoir, most recently, The Undertaker’s Daughter (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011). Strong Words: The Art of Toi Derricotte chronicles Derricotte’s history, growing up in Detroit, her first marriage to artist Clarence Reese, the birth of her son, Tony, her marriage to Bruce Derricotte and their move to New York, and, later, New Jersey. Then comes the story her creations, book by book. First came the Empress of the Death House (1978). Then Natural Birth (1983), Captivity (1989), Tender (1997), The Black Notebooks (1997), and The Undertaker’s Daughter (2011). It also covers her career as a university professor—20-plus years at the University of Pittsburgh—and as a co-founder (with Cornelius Eady and Sarah Micklin) of Cave Canem in 1996. At the heart of the film is the story of her life fueling her creativity. The result is art. In the process we hear from Cornelius Eady, Desiree Cooper, David Bartholomae, Terry Blackhawk, Ed Ochester, Terrance Hayes, Naomi Long Madgett, Nicole Sealey, Tony Derricotte, Benjamin “Jay” Webster, Jr., Sister Kathleen Voss, Diane Samuels, and Henry Reese. With interlocutor Ron Primeau, Ph.D.


Featured Writer:

Toi Derricotte‘s most recent book is The Undertaker’s Daughter (Pitt Poetry Series).  Her honors include the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement and the 2012 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry ReviewThe Paris Review, The New Yorker and Poetry. With Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem in 1996.  She serves on the Academy of American Poets’ Board of Chancellors.



David B. Schock, Ph.D., is an award-winning film producer. His work includes the poetry films Star by Star: Naomi Long Madgett, Poet and Publisher, a film about the life and career of Detroit’s Poet Laureate, Naomi Long Madgett and Jump Back, Honey: The Poetry and Performance of Herbert Woodward Martin, a documentary about a poet who has—as part of his career—championed the poetry, plays and fiction of Paul Laurence Dunbar. His most recent poetry film chronicles the life of one of the co-founders of Cave Canem: Strong Words: The Art of Toi Derricotte. Schock also produced and directedFirst Class (2009), a film based on the reading of a one-man play by David Wagoner about Saginaw poet Theodore Roethke. Schock also works to tell the story of cold cases. His murder films include Who Killed Janet Chandler?Jack in the BoxFinding DianeInto the Dark: the Murder of Shannon Marie Siders, Death of a Phoenix: The Eastown Murder of Joel Battaglia, and Heritage Hill Bride: The Murder of Shlley Speet Mills.  (Photo credit: Dan Irving)

Event Details

April 7, 2019 @ 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212

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