The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University has acquired the records of Cave Canem Foundation, an organization that supports the field of African American poetry and nurtures Black poets. The foundation was founded in 1996 by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady. The organization has grown from an initial membership of 26 poets to a group of nearly 400. The foundation holds an annual conference at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Cave Canem means “Beware of the Dog.”
The Cave Canem Foundation archive contains paper and digital office files and records, including correspondence, financial reports, and operational materials documenting such activities as fundraising, governance, programming, and publication projects.
Jacqueline Goldsby, professor of English and acting chair of the department of African American studies at Yale, said that “since its inception, Cave Canem has been a pioneering force in shaping contemporary African American letters. Its records are an important and exciting resource for innovative research and scholarship in African American literature and culture of the late 20th century and beyond. I can’t wait for our literature faculty and students to teach with and write about these archives.”
“The Cave Canem archive is an incomparable record of the African American poetry community over the past two decades,” adds Nancy Kuhl, curator of poetry for the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Library. “We welcome the opportunity to both serve the Cave Canem community as steward and caretaker of its archival record, and to collaborate as partners in preserving and promoting the archive for future poets, readers, students, and scholars.”