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2020 Retreat Faculty

Cave Canem has been closely following reports on the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Cave Canem Retreat scheduled for June 7-13 at the University of Pittsburgh at Greenburg. While this is very unfortunate, it was also necessary in order to prioritize the health and safety of our fellows, faculty and staff. We look forward to seeing current fellows and welcoming new poets in summer 2021, which will also commemorate Cave Canem’s 25th anniversary. In the meantime, we will continue to support the development of Black poets through our programs and digital platforms in the best ways possible. We are grateful for your continued support of Cave Canem.

Co-Founders: Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Eady and Derricotte © Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Toi Derricotte has published five collections of poetry, most recently I: New and Selected Poems (Uni. of Pittsburgh Press, 2019) and The Undertaker’s Daughter (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011). An earlier collection of poems, Tender (Uni. of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), won the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize. Her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks, published by W.W. Norton, won the 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her essay “Beds” is included in The Best American Essays 2011, edited by Edwidge Danticat. Recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in 2009, her honors include the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement; the 2012 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, for a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work represents a notable presence in American literature; the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America; two Pushcart Prizes; the Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists; the Alumni/Alumnae Award from New York University; the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, Inc.; the Elizabeth Kray Award, for service to the field of poetry from Poets House; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Maryland State Arts Council. She serves on the Academy of American Poets’ Board of Chancellors and for many years was Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

Cave Canem co-founder Cornelius Eady was born in 1954 in Rochester, New York. He is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently The War Against the Obvious (Jacar Press, 2018) and Singing While Black (Kattywompus Press, 2015). Eady’s critically acclaimed Hardheaded Weather (Penguin, 2008) was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and Victims of the Latest Dance Craze (Ommation Press, 1986), won the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He has collaborated with jazz composer Diedre Murray in the production of several works of musical theater, including You Don’t Miss Your WaterRunning Man, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1999; Fangs, and Brutal Imagination, which received the Newsday’s Oppenheimer Award in 2002. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry; a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Traveling Scholarship; a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy; The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award (1994); and the Elizabeth Kray Award, for service to the field of poetry from Poets House. He is a professor in the MFA program in Creative Writing and Literature at SUNY Stony Brook Southampton.

Former Faculty

Chris Abani
Elizabeth Alexander
Cyrus Cassells
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
Lucille Clifton, Elder (6/27/1936 – 2/13/2010)
Kwame Dawes
Nikky Finney
C. S. Giscombe
Michael S. Harper, Elder (3/18/1938 – 5/7/2016)
Terrance Hayes
Erica Hunt
Angela Jackson
Major Jackson
Ruth Ellen Kocher
Yusef Komunyakaa
Dawn Lundy Martin
Colleen J. McElroy
Harryette Mullen
Marilyn Nelson, Elder
Willie Perdomo
Carl Phillips
Claudia Rankine
Ed Roberson
Sonia Sanchez, Elder
Tim Seibles
Evie Shockley
Patricia Smith
Amber Flora Thomas
Natasha Trethewey
Afaa M. Weaver, Elder
Al Young, Elder
Kevin Young