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After the Gwendolyn Brooks reading.

 She sits at the book-signing table with a colorful
African wrap tied around her head. She may have her chin
in her palm, elbow on the table, as if resting her brain
(that silvery Jell-O in its luminous oyster shell) as she listens
intently to each one of the churchwomen
who have come on a bus in large church hats. They squawk
with joy as they hand her bedraggled books
taken down from their most honored shelves;
& she, who conceived of Maud Martha (that woman who, by sparing
a kitchen mouse, discovered, unfurling, her own great wings
of compassion), talks to each one, letting them
take as many pictures as they like, sandwiched between them--
small, dignified, and perfectly at ease.

TO1 DERRICOTTE'S most recent book is The Undertaker's Daughter. She received the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement and the 2012 PEN/ Voelcker Award for Poetry, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. With Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem in 1996. She has served on the Academy of American Poets' Board of Chancellors.

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Title Annotation:six poems
Author:Derricotte, Toi
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 1, 2018
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