Visiting Poets

Camille Dungy

Camille Dungy
The title poem of Camille Dungy’s Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 2017) dares its reader to resist a connection between incremental—yet vast—changes to Yellowstone’s ecosystem following a reintroduction of gray wolves and Dungy’s thoughts on motherhood: “Don’t / you tell me this is not the same as my story. All this / life born from one hungry animal, this whole / new landscape.” The author of four collections of poetry and a book of essays, Dungy has also written extensively about the invisibility of African-American authors in the historically white-dominated field of nature writing; in 2009, she edited the anthology Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (University of Georgia Press, 2009), asserting that without the perspective of writers of color, nature writing becomes less a conversation than a monologue. Camille Dungy has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cave Canem, and Yaddo, and recently won a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Colorado and is a professor in the English Department at Colorado State University.

Select Poems

Between raindrops,

space, certainly,


but we call it all rain.


I hang in the undrenched intervals,

while Callie is sleeping,


my old self necessary

and imperceptible as air.


From TROPHIC CASCADE (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 2017)

in her sleep 

in the passenger seat 

at the wheel

slipped on ice

pulled under the pond 

by the hands of a stranger 

by the hands of a lover 

by her own hands 

her heart 

due to complications 

surrounded by family 

after long illness 

we don’t yet know        why 

we didn’t know it would happen 

this soon


From TROPHIC CASCADE (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 2017)

Does she sleep through the night?


I hate to wake you so early,

but I had to tell you

                                this dream.

There were only seven trees left in the world


and the largest grew in your backyard.




From TROPHIC CASCADE (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 2017)

Poetry Center Reading

Fall 2019