Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize
Presented by Cave Canem
Co-Sponsored by
O, Miami Poetry Festival, Jai-Alai Books and The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel

Cave Canem Foundation, North America’s premier home for Black poetry, is pleased to announce the launch of the Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize, developed in collaboration with the O, Miami Poetry Festival, Jai-Alai Books and The Writer’s Room at The Betsy-South Beach. Established to celebrate Cave Canem’s upcoming 20th anniversary year, the prize seeks to publish one outstanding chapbook manuscript by a black poet per year, regardless of the poet’s publication history or career status.

The winner of the inaugural contest, judged by Ross Gay, is Rio Cortez for I have learned to define a field as a space between mountains. (To purchase a copy, visit Jai-Alai Books.) The next contest will commence in the fall of 2016. The winning poet receives $500, publication by Jai-Alai Books, 10 copies of the chapbook, a one-week residency at The Writer’s Room at the luxury, four-star Betsy-South Beach boutique hotel, and a feature reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival in April 2017. 

Founded in 1996 by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape, Cave Canem is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets. Called "the major watering hole and air pocket for black poetry" by 2011 National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, Cave Canem has grown from an initial gathering of 26 poets to become an influential movement with a renowned faculty and a high-achieving national fellowship of 400. Its programs include an annual week-long retreat, first- and second-book prizes with prestigious presses, Legacy Conversations with pre-eminent black poets and scholars, cross-cultural Poets on Craft talks, a lecture series, writing workshops, publications and national readings. For more information, visit

O, Miami builds literary culture in Miami, FL. In collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, O, Miami produces a visiting writer series, a publishing imprint, a poets-in-the-community workshop program and the O, Miami Poetry Festival, which has the annual goal of ensuring that every person living in Miami-Dade County encounters a poem during the month of April.

Jai-Alai Books, which operates under the non-profit organization O, Miami, is a small press dedicated to the advancement of Miami’s literary identity. Launched in 2014 and winner ofthe 2014 Knight Arts Challenge from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the press publishes titles in a variety of genres. For more information visit

Situated at the edge of the Atlantic, The Betsy–South Beach is the host hotel for wide-ranging programs that embrace the richness of global arts and culture. Since opening in 2012, The Betsy Writer’s Room has hosted more than 300 authors, artists and thought leaders, including notable poets W.S. Merwin, Nikky Finney and Robert Haas. The Betsy’s Poetry programs are inspired by the work of mid-century poet Hyam Plutzik, three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and father of Betsy owner Jonathan Plutzik.  For more information, visit and