”Ms. Derricotte has seeded a generation of evolving Black poetics. Her poems are engines of idiosyncratic black female witness. Her work is distinguished for its fusion of intimacy and intensity.Terrance Hayes
Toi Derricotte, the revered, award-winning poet and professor emerita of English at the University of Pittsburgh is the recipient of its 2021 Wallace Stevens Award. The prize is given annually in recognition of “outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry,”. The award comes with a $100,000 prize. Poets are nominated and elected by a majority vote of the academy’s Board of Chancellors. Her latest collection of poetry “I: New & Selected Poems” was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in Poetry.
Many of her books have won major prizes, sealing her fate as one of the best-known poets in the country. Past recipients have included such luminaries as Nikky Finney, John Ashbery, Rita Dove, Richard Wilbur, Adrienne Rich and Sonia Sanchez. Now 80, Ms. Derricotte is one of the most recognized poets in America and has been a mentor to generations of poets. As the co-founder of Cave Canem in 1996, she has been privileged to see younger poets and writers she’s championed become nationally recognized masters in their own right.
2021 Wallace Stevens Award
Current Body of work
I: New & Selected (Pitt Poetry Series) – 2019