Gathering Ground

A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade
Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, Editors
Camille T. Dungy, Assistant Editor
A collection from the first ten years of Cave Canem, including work by many leading faculty and the winners of the annual Cave Canem first-book prize


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.

Visit the Cave Canem website at

Toi Derricotte is Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh and co-founder of the Cave Canem Foundation. She 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..

Cornelius Eady is co-founder of the Cave Canem Foundation. He 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 Dance Craze.

Camille T. Dungy is Associate Professor of English at Randolph-Macon Woman's College. She is author of What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison.

Praise / Awards

  • "Put your face to this anthology of poems that blooms and blazes. Gathering Ground deserves your attention."

Look Inside

Copyright © 2006, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted December 2005 and January 2006.

To view PDF files, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. To find out more, please visit

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 224pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2006
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-09924-5

Add to Cart
  • $89.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2006
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06924-8

Add to Cart
  • $23.95 U.S.