Spring 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 2 Book Reviews |

Birth, Death, and “Captivity”

Captivity by Toi Derricotte. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989. 69 pages. $16.95, hardcover; $8.98, paperback. The publication of Captivity as part of the poetry series from the University of Pittsburgh Press gives us the occasion for a broad discussion of Toi Derricotte's powerful work. Her first books were published by Lotus Press (1978) and The Crossing Press. Now her poetry comes from one of the strongest establishment poetry series in the country. Most of us know Toi Derricotte's name from her second book, Natural Birth, published in 1983. This work, like Helene Davis's extraordinary book of poems Chemo-Poet (Alice James Books) on the taboo subject of breast cancer, shouted for the attention of women. Immediately in the first poem her clamorous voice established itself: "how will my house ever run on silence, when in me there is such noise . . .?" Throughout all three books she "holds on to the core, the center of strength" (NB 18) in order to explore in a new

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