Professor Emerita Receives Award from Modern Language Association

headshot of Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte, professor emerita in the Department of English within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, has been recognized by the Modern Language Association (MLA) with its Phyllis Franklin Award for Public Advocacy of the Humanities.

Derricotte received the award along with her colleague Cornelius Eady, with whom she co-founded Cave Canem, a national poetry organization that cultivates “the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.”

“The contributions that Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady have made in African American and African Diasporic poetry are immeasurable. Their visionary work at the Cave Canem Foundation helped open doors once difficult to access for black poets.” said Dawn Lundy Martin, director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics.

“Derricotte made Pitt the beacon for African American poetry and poetics that it is today, and we remain grateful for her lasting contributions —a gratitude that remains visible in our having a chair in poetry named in her honor,” said Gayle Rogers, chair of the Department of English.

The namesake of the award, Phyllis Franklin, served as MLA’s executive director from 1985 until 2002. Derricotte will be presented with the award at a ceremony in January.