Camille Dungy

Award-winning Poet
NBCCA Finalist in Criticism

Readings &
Lecture Topics
  • Language for Mourning, Language for Hope
  • The Writing Mother
  • Writing about the Earth
  • Writers’ Bootcamp: A Generative Workshop
  • African American Environmental Writing
  • All Writing is Environmental Writing
  • Writing the West
  • An Evening with Camille Dungy


“Dungy’s poems depict a universe of clockwork precision whose logic can be too complex for mortal minds.”—Publishers Weekly 

“Earthly and visionary.” –Yusef Komunyakaa

Camille T. Dungy is the author of four collections of poetry: Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan UP, 2017); Smith Blue (Southern Illinois UP, 2011) winner of the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize; Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press, 2010) winner of the American book award in 2010; and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (Red Hen Press, 2006).

Dungy is the author of two essay collections. Her debut, Guidebook to Relative Strangers (W. W. Norton, 2017), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  As a working mother whose livelihood as a poet-lecturer depended on travel, Camille Dungy crisscrossed America with her infant, then toddler, intensely aware of how they are seen, not just as mother and child, but as black women. The Kirkus Review noted of this lyrical memoir, “Each essay flows smoothly into the next, and they are all interlinked with themes of race, fear, joy, and love, bringing readers eye to eye with the experiences of being a black female poet, lecturer, mother, and woman. Forthright, entertaining, often potent essays that successfully intertwine personal history and historical context regarding black and white in America.”

Her essay collection, Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden (Simon & Schuster, 2023) – a finalist  for the PEN/Jean Stein Award – functions at the nexus of nature writing, environmental justice, and prose to encourage you to recognize the relationship between the peoples of the African diaspora and the land on which they live, and to understand that wherever soil rests beneath their feet is home.

Dungy is the editor of the anthology Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (UGA, 2009), the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets. About the anthology, a Booklist starred review notes, “Just as nature is too often defined as wilderness when, in fact, nature is everywhere we are, our nature poetry is too often defined by Anglo-American perspectives, even though poets of all backgrounds write about the living world. Dungy enlarges our understanding of the nexus between nature and culture, and introduces a ‘new way of thinking about nature writing and writing by black Americans.'” Black Nature brings to the fore a neglected and vital means of considering poetry by African Americans and nature-related poetry as a whole. Dungy serves as the poetry editor for Orion magazine.

Dungy is also the editor of several other anthologies, including From the Fishouse (Persea, 2009) and Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (University of Michigan Press, 2006).

Dungy is the recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Sustainable Arts Foundation, The Diane Middlebrook Residency Fellowship of the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, and other organizations. She was the recipient of a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship. Her poems and essays have been published in Best American Poetry, The 100 Best African American Poems, nearly thirty other anthologies, and over one hundred print and online journals.

Dungy is currently University Distinguished Professor in the English Department at Colorado State University.

Short Bio

Camille T. Dungy is the author of Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden. Soil was named book of the month by Hudsons Booksellers, received the 2024 Award of Excellence in Garden and Nature Writing from The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries, and was on the short list for the PEN/Jean Stein Award. Dungy has also written four collections of poetry, including Trophic Cascade, winner of the Colorado Book Award, and the essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, the first anthology to bring African American environmental poetry to national attention. She also co-edited the From the Fishouse poetry anthology and served as assistant editor for Gathering Ground: Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, 100 Best African American Poems, Best American Essays, The 1619 Project, All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, over 40 other anthologies, plus dozens of venues including The New Yorker, Poetry, Literary Hub, The Paris Review, and You may know her as the host of Immaterial, a podcast from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Magnificent Noise. A University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, Dungy’s honors include the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Book Award, an Honorary Doctorate from SUNY ESF, and fellowships from the NEA in both prose and poetry.


Visit Author Website



Articles & Audio

Selected Writings

Download Assets

Let’s get started

If you’re interested in this speaker, complete this form to begin the conversation.