Toi Derricotte

(April 12, 1941 / Hamtramck, Michigan)

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.
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Family Secrets

They told my cousin Rowena not to marry
Calvin―she was too young, just eighteen,
& he was too dark, too too dark, as if he
had been washed in what we wanted
to wipe off our hands. Besides, he didn't come
from a good family. He said he was going
to be a lawyer, but we didn't quite believe.
The night they eloped to the Gotham Hotel,
the whole house whispered―as if we were ashamed

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