2022 Retreat Class Photo

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Our 2022 Retreat was Cave Canem’s first Retreat since 2019 (postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions). Also, this year’s Retreat was Cave Canem’s first free Retreat. Lisa Willis, Executive Director of Cave Canem, has said “With our field, in particular, being one of the most under-resourced in all of the cultural activities—making the retreat free…it’s a really important signal.” We are proud to be of service to Black poetry and Black poets through our flagship program.

Our Retreat residency offers an unparalleled opportunity to study with a world-class faculty and join a community of peers. Some fellows hail from the spoken word tradition, others focus on the text. Some are formalists, others work at the cutting edge of experimentation. All are united by a common purpose to improve their craft and find productive space, as Harryette Mullen says, “where black poets, individually and collectively, can inspire and be inspired by others, relieved of any obligation to explain or defend their blackness.”

Cave Canem’s week-long Retreat is held annually at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Black poets of African descent, ages 21 and over, are eligible to apply. Once accepted, poets become “fellows.” Most are invited to attend two additional retreats within a five-year period.

We are thankful for the support of all of our collaborators in-service to Black poets. Cheers to the 2022 Retreat Graduates, newcomers, and returning Fellows. Special thanks to 2022 Faculty Janice Harrington, D.S. Marriott, Tracie Morris, Evie Shockley, and Frank X Walker, and our Guest Poet Francine J. Harris.