The Black Notebooks by Toi Derricotte
An Interior Journey

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Synopsis

The poet Toi Derricotte began this journal over 20 years ago when she, a light-skinned black woman, moved into an all white area near New York City. The author describes encounters with family, neighbours, friends and colleagues where she is forced to question what it means to be a black woman living in a racially divided world. It is also a book about uncovering the denied and shameful aspects of the self, and the author's journey towards self-acceptance.
 

About Toi Derricotte

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Derricotte was born in Detroit, Michigan. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. With Cornelius Eady she founded Cave Canem, a workshop retreat for African American poets.
 
Published October 1, 1997 by W. W. Norton & Company. 205 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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She wrote The Black Notebooks, she notes in her introductory essay, not out of ``desire'' but to ``save [her] life.'' At her best, Derricotte is reminiscent of Nella Larsen, for whom ``passing'' was a primary topic, and Doris Lessing in The Golden Notebooks, which is also about avoiding breakdown...

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Publishers Weekly

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Many readers of this book will want to find positive, hopeful images, but poet Derricotte--a black woman who is sometimes mistaken for white--prefers to ""record the language of self-hate,"" the internalized racism she sees in herself and others.

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