Cave Canem has for the past ten years dedicated itself to the discovery and cultivation of new voices in African American poetry. Founded in 1996 by prizewinning poets Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, Cave Canem began as a weeklong summer workshop/retreat and has now expanded to include regional workshops, poetry readings, a series of public conversations between major poets and emerging younger poets, and an annual first-book prize.
To mark the first decade of this pathbreaking project, Gathering Ground presents more than one hundred poems by Cave Canem participants and faculty. It embraces an impressive and eclectic gathering of forms, including sonnets, a bop (a new form created by a Cave Canem faculty member), blues, sestinas, prose poems, centos, free verse, and more. The roster of distinguished contributors includes Lucille Clifton, Yusef Komunyakaa, Marilyn Nelson, Sonya Sanchez, Al Young, and many others.
For newcomers and aficionados alike, Gathering Ground assembles in one place the most innovative voices in contemporary African American poetry and boldly attests to the important position it holds in verse-making today.
Toi Derricotte is author of the memoir The Black Notebooks and of four books of poetry: Tender, Captivity, Natural Birth, and The Empress of the Death House. She is Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. Cornelius Eady is the author of Brutal Imagination, Autobiography of a Jukebox, You Don't Miss Your Water, The Gathering of My Name, and Victims of the Latest Dance Craze. He is Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.