“I first heard Toi read some years ago at Old Dominion University, and knew right away that I wanted to do her next books . . . She founded, with Cornelius Eady, the first workshop and retreat for African American poets: Cave Canem, which has been spectacularly successful in mentoring younger writers and bringing their work to publication.”
In an Urban School
The guard picks dead leaves from plants.
The sign over the table reads:
"Do not take or touch anything on this table!"
In the lunchroom the cook picks up in her dishcloth
what she refers to as “a little friend,”
shakes it out,
and puts the dishcloth back on the drain.
The teacher says she needs stronger tranquilizers.
Sweat rises on the bone of her nose,
on the plates of her skull under unpressed hair.
“First graders, put your heads down. I’m taking names
so I can tell your parents
which children do not obey their teacher.”
Raheim’s father was stabbed last week.
Germaine’s mother, a junkie,
was found dead in an empty lot.
an Urban School” from American
$27.95 • 408 pp. © 2007 University of Pittsburgh Press
(ed. Ed Ochester) features poems by Toi Derricotte and many others from the Pitt Poetry Series.
American Poetry Now (ed. Ed Ochester) features poems by Toi Derricotte and many others from the Pitt Poetry Series.