Begun in 1996 by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady as a weeklong summer workshop/retreat designed to counter the under-representation of African American poets in literary programs, Cave Canem remains a safe haven for black poets. What was once an all-volunteer effort in 1996 has moved swiftly to become a non-profit organization with a full-time staff and an active Board. Programs include regional workshops, a first book prize, annual anthologies, readings and events in major cities around the United States.