Camille T. Dungy


Poet and editor Camille T. Dungy was born in Denver but moved often as her father, an academic physician, taught at many different medical schools across the country. She earned a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Dungy’s full-length poetry publications include Trophic Cascade (2017); Smith Blue (2011), a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; Suck on the Marrow (2010), winner of an American Book Award, a California Book Award silver medal, and the Northern California book award; and the sonnet collection What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (2006), a finalist for both the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Library of Virginia Literary Award. Dungy edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (2009), which won a Northern California Book Award and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. She was also co-editor of From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great (2009), and assistant editor for Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (2006). Dungy's most recent work includes the essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History (2017). Dungy has won the Dana Award and the Sustainable Arts Foundation Promise Award, and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in 2010 and 2011. Dungy has also received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Antiquarian Society, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Djerrasi Resident Artist Program, Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Norton Island Artist Residency Program. Dungy is currently a professor in the English department at Colorado State University. Source

Trophic Cascade

After the reintroduction of gray wolves

to Yellowstone and, as anticipated, their culling

of deer, trees grew beyond the deer stunt

of the mid century. In their up reach

songbirds nested, who scattered

seed for underbrush, and in that cover

warrened snowshoe hare. Weasel and water shrew

returned, also vole, and came soon hawk

and falcon, bald eagle, kestrel, and with them

hawk shadow, falcon shadow. Eagle shade

and kestrel shade haunted newly-berried

runnels where mule deer no longer rummaged, cautious

as they were, now, of being surprised by wolves. Berries

brought bear, while undergrowth and willows, growing

now right down to the river, brought beavers,

who dam. Muskrats came to the dams, and tadpoles.

Came, too, the night song of the fathers

of tadpoles. With water striders, the dark

gray American dipper bobbed in fresh pools

of the river, and fish stayed, and the bear, who

fished, also culled deer fawns and to their kill scraps

came vulture and coyote, long gone in the region

until now, and their scat scattered seed, and more

trees, brush, and berries grew up along the river

that had run straight and so flooded but thus dammed,

compelled to meander, is less prone to overrun. 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 course of the river changed,

I know this. I reintroduced myself to myself, this time

a mother. After which, nothing was ever the same.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Poems of Place

Science & Climate

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


The repetition of similar vowel sounds that takes place in two or more words in proximity to each other within a line; usually refers to the repetition of internal vowel sounds in words that do not end the same.


a break between words within a metrical foot


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem


an instruction or a command


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing

Varied syntax

diverse sentence structure