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Toi Derricotte

(April 12, 1941 / Hamtramck, Michigan)

Quotations

  • ''Poetry asks people to have values, form opinions, care about some other part of experience besides making money and being successful on the job.''
    Toi Derricotte (b. 1941), African American poet. As quoted in A Gift That Cannot Be Refused, ch. 8, by Mary Biggs (1990). Written in 1983.
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Market

Those huge platters on their heads on which everything
is placed accurately, each small red pepper,
prawn, each orange―each arranged in piles so tall they defy gravity―
avocados, crabs, dried fish of silverish brown,
or one great yam, thirty pounds, dirt brushed,
counterbalanced in a kind of aquarium.
A woman approves me with a fluent grin
and offers her light basket for my head;
I walk a yard, tottering awkwardly.

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