Episode 8

Toi Derricotte, "The Minks"


October 20th, 2020

20 mins 18 secs

Season 1

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About this Episode

Carl Phillips joins us this week to take a close look at Toi Derricotte's "The Minks." Together we consider the art of narrative poetry, the movements of a single-stanza poem, and the meaning of line breaks.

Toi Derricotte is the author of five books of poetry and a collection of prose called The Black Notebooks. She has won numerous awards and fellowhips, including the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists, the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, the PEN/Voelcker Award, and two Pushcart Prizes. With Cornelius Eady she co-founded Cave Canem in 1996, an organization committed to furthering the artistic and professional opportunities for African American poets. "The Minks" comes from her 1990 book Captivity, which explores the legacies of slavery and its impact on African American families in the present day. It is included in I: New and Selected Poems published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, which granted us permission to read it for this podcast.

Carl Phillips, our guest for this episode, is also an award-winning poet of multiple collections, most recently Pale Colors in a Tall Field (2020). He has had three books nominated for a National Book Award and has won the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, a Pushcart Prize, the Kingsley Tuft Poetry Award, and numerous fellowships and other awards. Thank you to Carl for joining us today as our first guest!

For more on Toi Derricotte, please see here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/toi-derricotte

For more on Carl Phillips, please see here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/carl-phillips

For the full text of "The Minks," please see here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42872/the-minks

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