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Freedom Now! A Celebration of Cave Canem’s 20th Anniversary in Poetry and Song

Meet us uptown at the Schomburg Center to celebrate Cave Canem’s 20th anniversary with an evening-length concert of poetry and music tuned to the times. Helmed by the performance’s artistic director Karma Mayet Johnson and featuring Cave Canem co-founders Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, Black Arts Movement icon Sonia Sanchez, and a special appearance by New York City-based youth poets, Freedom Now! will draw upon the words of Audre Lorde and Henry Dumas and engage the lasting legacies of Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach and Oscar Brown, Jr. Guest musicians Lisala Beatty, Chris Eddleton, Henry Grimes, Alex Harding and Marvin Sewell join members of the legendary Burnt Sugar Arkestra Chamber to furnish the piece’s musical foundation.

Purchase your ticket now through Schomburg’s EventBrite Box Office.
$35 General Seating
$30 Schomburg Members
$100 VIP, includes reception & reserved seating

Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Lead Sponsor
Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Sustaining Sponsors
Adelphi University Creative Writing MFA
Hallie S. Hobson
Institute for Research in African-American Studies

Supporting Sponsors
The Center for African American Poetry & Poetics and The Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh
Northwestern University Press
NYU Creative Writing Program

Associate Sponsors
92 St Y Unterberg Poetry Center: The Voice of Literature
Graywolf Press: A World of Voices
The New School, MFA Creative Writing Program
Poetry Center, San Francisco State University
Wick Poetry Center, Kent State University

Grace Farms

Official Event Photographer
nívea castro

Poets & Writers: This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Puffin Foundation, Ltd.

Click here to explore sponsorship opportunities. Call 718.858.0000, or email info[at]ccpoets[dot]org, with the subject line “Freedom Now Sponsorship” for additional information.







Lillian-Yvonne Bertram to Judge the 2021 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize


Submissions are now open for the 2021 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize, to be judged by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram. The annual contest is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional chapbook-length manuscripts by Black poets. The winner receives $1,000, publication by Jai-Alai Books in spring 2022, 10 copies of the chapbook, a weeklong residency at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy – South Beach, and a feature virtual reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival. Black poets are encouraged to apply by September 15. The contest is free to enter. Complete details and submission guidelines may be found here.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, where they teach in and direct the UMass Boston MFA in Creative Writing Program. They also direct the Chautauqua Institution Writers’ Festival. Their most recent collection is Travesty Generator (Noemi Press, 2019), winner of the 2018 Noemi Press Poetry Prize and the 2020 Poetry Society of America Anna Rabinowitz Prize, and a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Other works include Personal Science (Tupelo Press, 2017); a slice from the cake made of air (Red Hen Press 2016); and But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise (Red Hen Press, 2012), chosen by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Award. Bertram’s honors include a 2017 Harvard University Woodberry Poetry Room Creative Grant, a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, finalist nomination for the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Cave Canem, and others. Bertram holds a Ph.D. in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Utah, among degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize was launched in 2015 with Ross Gay’s selection of Rio Cortez’s I have learned to define a field as a space between mountains. Most recently, Mahogany L. Browne selected Wale Ayinla’s To Cast a Dream for last year’s prize.