Dear Poet Project
Academy of American Poets
re: poet Toi Derricotte
from: Jo, Grade 10

Dear Chancellor Derricotte,

I am sixteen, drive a car, complete my chores—homework, some housework—and floss everyday. I stand with one foot in the grown-up world. Yet your poem “For Telly The Fish” triggers a tingling in my toes that the other side of me, the soft pink side that still likes to go barefoot on fresh mowed grass, stands in the world inhabited by childhood wonder.

Telly pulled me back. “… He’d still watch me, eye to eye, as if saying, food isn’t enough” recalled being a child again; free to observe that sliver of a creature live in apparent bliss then dream of something more.

Thank you Chancellor Derricotte for reminding me of my own goldfish days—long departed—but not forgotten. Thank you for reminding me to take off both of my shoes and walk carefree on green grass.


Grade 10
Greenwich, CT

dear poet letters