The evening will honor Toi Derricotte, recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal for lifetime achievement in poetry. Derricotte will read her work, followed by an interview with Tracy K. Smith.
Toi Derricotte’s sixth collections of poetry, “I” New and Selected Poems, was published in 2019 and shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award. Other books of poetry include The Undertaker’s Daughter, Tender, and Captivity. Her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. With Cornelius Eady, Derricotte co-founded the Cave Canem Foundation in 1996. They are co-recipients of the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award, the City of Literature Paul Engle Prize and the MLA Phyllis Franklin Award. She is Professor Emerita from University of Pittsburgh and a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Tracy K. Smith is one of the most celebrated poets of our time. She served as the 22nd United States Poet Laureate from 2017 to 2019, and is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light and several books of poetry, including her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection Life on Mars. She is the director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University, and hosts The Slowdown.