Toi Derricotte Poems
- The Weakness That time my grandmother dragged me through the...
- Family Secrets They told my cousin Rowena not to ...
- From A Letter: About Snow I am at a retreat house, and the ...
- Market Those huge platters on their heads on which ...
- A Note On My Son's Face Tonight, I look, thunderstruck at ...
- For Black Women Who Are Afraid A black woman comes up to me ...
- Elegy For My Husband What was there is no longer there: Not ...
Toi Derricotte (pronounced DARE-ah-cot ) is an American poet and a professor of writing at University of Pittsburgh.
At Wayne State University she earned a B.A. in 1965 and an M.A. in 1984 at New York University in English literature.
Derricotte was born the daughter of Antonia Baquet, a Creole from Louisiana, and Benjamin Sweeney Webster, a Kentucky native, and later half-sister to Benjamin, Jr. At around ten or eleven years old, she began a secret journal that included, among other things, the disintegration of her parents' marriage and the death of her grandmother on whom she was very emotionally dependent. During her years at Detroit's Girls ... more »
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Quotationsmore quotations »
''Poetry asks people to have values, form opinions, care about some other part of experience besides making money and being successful on the job.''Toi Derricotte (b. 1941), African American poet. As quoted in A Gift That Cannot Be Refused, ch. 8, by Mary Biggs (1990). Written in 1983.
That time my grandmother dragged me
through the perfume aisles at Saks, she held me up
by my arm, hissing, "Stand up,"
through clenched teeth, her eyes
bright as a dog's
cornered in the light.
She said it over and over,
as if she were Jesus,
and I were dead.She had been
solid as a tree,
a fur around her neck, a
light-skinned matron whose car was parked, who walked
marble and passed through
brass openings--in 1945.
There was not even a black
elevator operator at Saks.
The saleswoman had brought velvet
leggings to lace ...