Camille T. Dungy
Camille T. Dungy is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan UP, 2017), winner of the Colorado Book Award. She is also the author of the essay collections Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden (Simon & Schuster, 2023) and Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood and History (W.W. Norton, 2017), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dungy has also edited anthologies including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry and From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great. A 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, her honors include NEA Fellowships in poetry (2003) and prose (2018), an American Book Award, two NAACP Image Award nominations, and two Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominations. Dungy’s poems have been published in Best American Poetry, The 100 Best African American Poems, the Pushcart Anthology, Best American Travel Writing, and over thirty other anthologies. She is University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University. (new window)
Stripped in a flamedance, the bluff backing our houses
quivered in wet-black skin. A shawl of haze tugged tight
around the starkness. We could have choked on August.
Smoke thick in our throats, nearly naked as the earth,
we played bare feet over the heat caught in asphalt.
Could we, green girls, have prepared for this? Yesterday,
we played in sand-carpeted caves. The store we built
sold broken bits of ice plant, empty snail shells, leaves.
Our school’s walls were open sky. We reeled in wonder
from the hills, oblivious to the beckoning
crescendo and to our parent’s hushed communion.
When our bluff swayed into the undulation, we ran
into the still streets of our suburb, feet burning
against a fury that we did not know was change.
From What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (Red Hen Press, 2006)
“Surviving Is the Crux of Celebration: An Interview with Camille T. Dungy” by Jasmine Elizabeth Smith. Los Angeles Review of Books. 10 June 2021
“Is All Writing Environmental Writing?” by Camille Dungy. The Georgia Review. 2018
“Naming is a Breed of Compassion and Empathy: an Interview with Camille T. Dungy” by Courtney Brown. Nashville Review. 13 December 2017