The 2014 Thompson Visiting Poet is Toi Derricotte whose books of poetry include The Empress of the Death House, Natural Birth, Captivity, Tender, and The Undertaker’s Daughter.

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“As in the music of Billie Holiday, the work of Toi Derricotte is lit by a fusion of intimacy and intensity. She has long sounded the depths of history, family and self with an unflinching openness that moves beyond candor into visionary wisdom.” - Terrance Hayes

Charles D. and Marjorie J. Thompson Visiting Poet

  • Who: Toi Derricotte, award-winning poet
  • When: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Sorenson Center for the Arts, Babson College, Wellesley, MA
  • Info: Admission is free, the public is welcome

Born in Hamtramck, Michigan in 1941, Toi Derricotte is an award-winning poet; co-founder of Cave Canem writing workshop for African-American poets; Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh; and, since 2012, a Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets.

Her poetry collections are The Empress of the Death HouseNatural BirthCaptivityTender, and The Undertaker’s Daughter, published between 1978 and 2011. These collections are deeply interested in race, gender, violence, fertility, family life and many other concerns, in language and form that “blend personal history, invention and reportage” (Publishers Weekly). Her prose autobiography The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey (1997) draws on diary and notebook entries from two decades. It explores the identity of a light-skinned black woman frequently mistaken for white and occasionally opting to pass as such. This autobiography was a New York Times Notable Book.

Among Toi Derricotte’s many awards are the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America; the Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society—while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.

By Barbara Spies Blair, blairb@babson.edu, 781-239-4621 | 02/11/2014 06:00