Black poets have a long tradition of incorporating treatments of the natural world into their work, but it is often read as political, historical, or protest poetry--anything but nature poetry. This is particularly true when the definition of what constitutes nature writing is limited to work about the pastoral or the wild.
Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics. This collection features major writers, such as Phillis Wheatley, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, Wanda Coleman, Natasha Trethewey, and Melvin B. Tolson, as well as newer talents, such as Douglas Kearney, Major Jackson, and Janice Harrington. Included are poets writing out of slavery, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century African American poetic movements.
Black Nature brings to the fore a neglected and vital means of considering poetry by African Americans and nature-related poetry as a whole.
Camille T. Dungy is an associate professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University. She is the author of two poetry collections, What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison and Suck on the Marrow, and has helped edit two other poetry anthologies.
"Dungy has compiled what might have taken a lifetime to assemble, yet here it is at this moment when our culture is assessing both its relationship to the natural world and its relationship with its black citizens. The timing could not be better for such a comprehensive look at what black poets have contributed to our understanding of nature. What excites about this anthology is that it is not only the richest and most comprehensive collection of poems by black poets I have read, it is the richest and most comprehensive collection of poems about nature that I have read. I believe the book should be widely read, taught, and talked about." --Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of Rope
"With extraordinary insight and substantial creative vision the rich synthesis of this anthology offers a strikingly original contour to the seasons of black poets and poetry. The critical wisdom accumulated here is as important as the beautifully structured cycles that Dungy uses as landscaped categories to contain these important poems. The methodology here is as graceful as it is rigorously intelligent. Dungy's anthology is a major contribution to twenty-first century Black Studies." --Karla FC Holloway, author of BookMarks: Reading in Black and White--A Memoir
University of Georgia Press / December 01, 2009
1.0" H x 8.9" L x 5.9" W (1.35 lbs) 387 pages