Viewing entries tagged
Cave Canem

Interview with Toi Derricotte pt. 2

Interview with Toi Derricotte pt. 2

 TD: I can’t wait till I get (to Detroit) again. I want to see your house. Where is it?

CR: Just south of Davison, near Conant.

TD: Over on the east side. Oh yeah, because that’s where Conant Gardens is. That’s where I grew up.

Interview with Toi Derricotte pt. 1

Interview with Toi Derricotte pt. 1

Last week, I had the honor of attending Cave Canem Retreat as a second-year fellow. Cave Canem is an organization built for poets of African descent, founded twenty years ago by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady. It has been called “the major watering hole and air pocket for black poetry” by Nikky Finney. While fellows and faculty run a three year course before graduating from Cave Canem, its two cornerstones have always been Toi and Cornelius. This year also marked Toi’s last year as faculty of the retreat. For those readers unfamiliar with Toi Derricotte, she was born in Hamtramck and lived in and around Detroit through her mid 20’s. Her work, much like her, is simultaneously vulnerable and unabashed, often saying that which would otherwise go unspoken in American literature or elsewhere. Toi has long encouraged Cave Canem fellows to “write the hard poem”, as she has done time and time again. It is thanks to Cave Canem that I now feel re-invigorated to do just that, over and over again. I had a chance to speak with her on the last day of the retreat, an in the interest of brevity, I have broken the interview into two parts. Enjoy!

It's My Party...

It's My Party...

It’s taken quite some time for me to write this. There have been many obstacles to my writing: an egregious scheduling conflict that forced me to choose between going to the Cave Canem Poetry Retreat and the Allied Media Conference. Then, after the decision was made, contending with it, asking myself why I had chosen not to stay in Detroit despite the fact I have wanted to attend the AMC for many years now. What did it say about my priorities? Who was I going to have to apologize to? And of course there were a host of other issues concerning the fact that I had promised people a place to stay in Detroit and also had my workshop proposal accepted and now needed to find a replacement for myself. In one way, all of the chaos involved in rearranging did, in fact take up a great deal of time that could have been spent writing. The broader reality is that depression seized me.

A Journey to AWP

A Journey to AWP

Last week I attended the Association of Writers and Poets annual conference, commonly referred to as AWP. On the road to Minneapolis I was reminded how remarkable dull early April’s color palette can be. Indiana was a bed of fog cascading from South Bend to Gary. My friend and I talked about alien sightings, and I divulged that I had seen one too many television specials and Youtube videos on the subject.