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Cave Canem Writer’s Retreat 2017

by Dakota Jones 

The campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg has been chosen yet again to host this summer’s retreat for the Cave Canem organization from June 11 to June 17.

Cave Canem is a non-profit organization that was created in 1996 by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady to help raise the awareness of and appreciation of African-American poetry and the poets who write it. The organization has enjoyed a great amount of recognition in recent years as well as several of its members being awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

This summer’s retreat will feature an opening circle at the start, orientation for the participants, several workshops and book readings/signings, a stewardship conversation, and a closing ceremony at the end. Some of the workshops will be led by members of the faculty, while other workshops during the week will be led by groups of fellows from the organization.

This year’s faculty include Cornelius Eady, one of the co-founders of Cave Canem, as well as Major Jackson, Ruth Ellen Kocher, and Robin Coste Lewis, all of which are accomplished poets. In addition to the faculty, the visiting poet for the retreat is Haki Madhubuti, a very well-known and respected author and publisher and major contributor to the African American literary tradition.

I also had the opportunity to speak with one of the co-founders, Professor Toi Derricotte. I asked her why our campus has been chosen for the location of the retreat.

“The reason why Pitt at Greensburg was chosen for the retreat is because of the great space where people can both spread out and be isolated,” she said. “It’s a beautiful campus and services have been perfect over the years.  It’s nice to be kind of isolated in Greensburg campus, like in the country.”

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