The Super Fun Kids' Graphic Novel Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays | September 23, 2015

    Bryan Doerries: IMG Using Greek Tragedies to Comfort the Afflicted and Afflict the Comfortable

    In ancient Athens, during the fifth century BC, military service was required of all citizens. To be a citizen meant being a soldier, and vice... Continue »
    1. $18.87 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $26.95
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
25 Remote Warehouse Poetry- African American

More copies of this ISBN

This title in other editions

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry


Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Black Nature is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated.

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.


"Dungy's unique, enlightening, and heart-opening anthology embraces George Moses Horton, who lived as a slave, and today's award-winning Cyrus Cassells, haiku by Richard Wright, and poems funny, smart, sexy, devastating, and exquisite...each expressing provocative perceptions of the great tide of existence." Booklist (starred review)


"Expanding the realm of traditional nature poetry and African American writings, this work will appeal to readers of both genres." Library Journal

About the Author

Camille T. Dungy is an associate professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University. She is the author of What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison and has helped edit two other poetry anthologies.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction: The Nature of African American Poetry

Camille T. Dungy xix

Cycle One: Just Looking

Ed Roberson “We Must Be Careful” 3

Lucille Clifton “the earth is a living thing” 6

Al Young “The Mountains of California: Part I” 7

G. E. Patterson “The Mountain Road Ends Here” 8

June Jordan “Queen Anne’s Lace” 9

George Moses Horton “On Summer” 10

Nikki Giovanni “The Yellow Jacket” 12

Yusef Komunyakaa “Eclogue at Twilight” 14

Marilyn Nelson “Ruellia Noctifl ora” 16

Rita Dove “Evening Primrose” 18

Robert Hayden “The Night-Blooming Cereus” 19

George Marion McClellan “A September Night” 22

Thylias Moss “Sweet Enough Ocean, Cotton” 23

Helene Johnson “Metamorphism” 25

Toni Wynn “a brown girl’s nature poem: provincetown” 26

Gerald Barrax Sr. “What More?” 27

Ed Roberson “be careful” 29

Rachel Eliza Gri÷ths “Watching Blackbirds Turn to Ghosts” 30

Alvin Aubert “If Winter Comes, Can Spring?” 32

Evie Shockley “31 words * prose poems [#12]” 33

Cycle Two: Nature, Be with Us

Ravi Howard “We Are Not Strangers Here” 37

James A. Emanuel “For a Farmer” 39

Gerald Barrax Sr. “To Waste at Trees” 40

Carl Phillips “White Dog” 41

Evie Shockley “you must walk this lonesome” 42

Cyrus Cassells “Down from the Houses of Magic” 43

George Marion McClellan “The Ephemera” 49

Ruth Ellen Kocher “Sleepwalker on the Mountain” 50

Richard Wright #543 51

Mark McMorris “Aphrodite of Economy” 52

Marilyn Nelson “Arachis Hypogaea” 53

Anthony Walton “In the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge, Thinking of Rachel Carson” 54

Camille T. Dungy “Language” 55

June Jordan “For Alice Walker (a summertime tanka)” 56

Lucille Clifton “generations” 57

Yusef Komunyakaa “Work” 58

Ross Gay “Poem to My Child, If Ever You Shall Be” 60

Sterling Brown “To a Certain Lady, in Her Garden” 63

Ed Roberson “Urban Nature” 65

Reginald Shepherd “September Songs” 66

Cycle Three: Dirt on Our Hands

Richard Wright from 12 Million Black Voices 71

Anne Spencer “Another April” 74

Gerald Barrax Sr. “Barriers” 75

Lenard D. Moore “A Young Peacock” 76

Major Jackson “Urban Renewal: XIII” 77

Audre Lorde “The Bees” 78

Anthony Walton “Carrion” 80

June Jordan “look at the blackbird fall” 82

Wanda Coleman “Flight of the California Condor” 83

Camille T. Dungy “Since Everyone Can Never Be Safe” 87

Patricia Smith “Won’t Be But a Minute” 90

Michael S. Harper “Called” 91

Jean Toomer “Harvest Song” 93

Arna Bontemps “A Black Man Talks of Reaping” 95

Melvin Dixon “Wood and Rain” 96

Claude McKay “Joy in the Woods” 97

Margaret Walker “Sorrow Home” 99

Honorée Fanonne Je≈ers “Blues Aubade (or, Revision of the Lean, Post-Modernist Pastorale)” 100

Ed Roberson “romance” 102

Alice Dunbar-Nelson “April Is on the Way” 103

Cycle Four: Pests, People Too

C. S. Giscombe “Boll Weevils, Coyotes, and the Color of Nuisance” 109

Amber Flora Thomas “Miscarriage in October with Ladybugs” 114

Gregory Pardlo “Man Reading in Bed by a Window with Bugs” 116

Major Jackson “Pest” 117

Tim Seibles “Ambition II: Mosquito in the Mist” 119

Richard Wright #459 122

Thomas Sayers Ellis “The Market” 123

Tara Betts “For Those Who Need a True Story” 124

Lenard D. Moore “Postcard to an Ecologist” 126

C. S. Giscombe “Nature Boy” 127

Robert Hayden “A Plague of Starlings” 128

Janice N. Harrington “O Believer” 130

Audre Lorde “The Brown Menace or Poem to the Survival of Roaches” 132

Kwame Alexander “Life” 134

Kamilah Aisha Moon “What a Snakehead Discovered in a Maryland Pond and a Poet in Corporate America Have in Common” 135

Shane Book “The Lost Conquistador” 137

Lucille Clifton “the beginning of the end of the world” 141

Natasha Trethewey “Carpenter Bee” 142

Yusef Komunyakaa “Yellowjackets” 144

Cycle Five: Forsaken of the Earth

Alice Walker “The Flowers” 147

Phillis Wheatley “On Imagination” 149

Nikki Giovanni “For Saundra” 151

G. E. Patterson “The Natural World” 153

Langston Hughes “Lament for Dark Peoples” 154

Anne Spencer “White Things” 155

Rita Dove “Parsley” 156

Paul Laurence Dunbar “The Haunted Oak” 159

Albery Whitman from Rape of Florida, Canto I 162

Douglas Kearney “Swimchant of Nigger Mer-Folk (An Aquaboogie Set in Lapis)” 166

Clarence Major “Water usa” 167

Major Jackson “Migration” 168

Ruth Ellen Kocher “February Leaving” 169

Ed Roberson “blue horses” 171

Gwendolyn Brooks “Sick Man Looks at Flowers” 172

Arna Bontemps “Prodigal” 173

Cynthia Parker-Ohene “potters’ field” 174

Natasha Trethewey “Monument” 175

Cycle Six: Disasters, Natural and Other

Mona Lisa Saloy “Disasters, Nature, and Poetry” 179

Askia M. Touré “Floodtide” 184

Sterling Brown “Children of the Mississippi” 188

James A. Emanuel “Emmett Till” 191

devorah major “sign post” 192

Audre Lorde “Song” 193

G. E. Patterson “The Sacred History of the Earth” 195

Yusef Komunyakaa “A Greenness Taller Than Gods” 196

Patricia Spears Jones “San Francisco, Spring 1986” 197

Carl Phillips “The Cure” 199

Natasha Trethewey “Liturgy” 201

Jean Toomer “Reapers” 203

Ishmael Reed “Earthquake Blues” 204

Amber Flora Thomas “Erasure” 206

Douglas Kearney “Floodsong 2: Water Moccasin’s Spiritual” 208

Anne Spencer “Requiem” 210

Robert Hayden “Ice Storm” 211

Cycle Seven: Talk of the Animals

Sean Hill “A Shepherd’s Tale” 215

Jean Toomer “Beehive” 218

Rachel Eliza Griffiths “Black-and-White Dusk at Limantour Beach” 219

Paul Laurence Dunbar “Sympathy” 221

Melvin B. Tolson “The Sea-Turtle and the Shark” 222

Richard Wright #175 224

Harryette Mullen “European Folk Tale Variant” 225

Wendy S. Walters “Man Raised as Chicken” 226

C. S. Giscombe “Far” 227

Shara McCallum “The Spider Speaks” 228

Cyrus Cassells “The Hummingbird” 229

Tim Seibles “The Herd” 230

Cornelius Eady “Speed” 233

Ishmael Reed “Points of View” 234

Wanda Coleman “Requiem for a Nest” 235

Clarence Major “Surfaces and Masks: XXX” 236

Toi Derricotte “The Minks” 237

Janice N. Harrington “Possum” 239

Afaa Michael Weaver “The Appaloosa” 244

G. E. Patterson “April Lyric / All I Know Is” 245

Cycle Eight: What the Land Remembers

Honorée Fanonne Je≈ers “April in Eatonton” 249

Robert Hayden “Locus” 252

Myronn Hardy “Jaguaripe” 254

Janice N. Harrington “What There Was” 256

Frank X Walker “Wind Talker” 258

Lucille Clifton “mulberry fi elds” 260

E. Ethelbert Miller “I Am Black and the Trees Are Green” 261

Amaud Jamaul Johnson “The Maple Remains” 262

Douglas Kearney “Tallahatchie Lullabye, Baby” 264

June Jordan “Out in the Country of My Country” 265

Rita Dove “Three Days of Forest, a River, Free” 266

Claudia Rankine “American Light” 267

C. S. Giscombe “Look Ahead, Look South: the future” 269

Margaret Walker “Southern Song” 270

Ed Roberson “Wave” 271

Evie Shockley “her table mountain” 272

Sherley Anne Williams from “Juneteenth: The Bicentennial Poem” 274

Indigo Moor “Tap-Root” 276

Marilyn Nelson “Last Talk with Jim Hardwick” 278

Michael S. Harper “History as Apple Tree” 279

Cycle Nine: Growing Out of This Land

Camille T. Dungy “Writing Home” 283

Richard Wright #559 286

Yusef Komunyakaa “The Millpond” 287

Sean Hill “Seven Pastorals at Sixteen” 290

Janice N. Harrington “Before a Screen Door” 293

Indigo Moor “Pull” 295

C. S. Giscombe “Two Directions” 297

Marilyn Nelson “My Grandfather Walks in the Woods” 298

Stephanie Pruitt “Mississippi Gardens” 300

Gerald Barrax Sr. “I Called Them Trees” 301

Wanda Coleman “Beaches. Why I Don’t Care for Them” 303

Ruth Ellen Kocher “At 57, My Father Learns to Grow Things” 305

Gregory Pardlo “Suburban Noir” 306

June Jordan “Letter to the Local Police” 307

Frank X Walker “Homeopathic” 309

Terrance Hayes “Root” 310

Audre Lorde “What My Child Learns of the Sea” 312

Remica L. Bingham “The Ritual of Season” 313

Mark McMorris “More Than Once in Caves” 315

Al Young “Pachuta, Mississippi / A Memoir” 317

Cycle Ten: Comes Always Spring

Marilyn Nelson “First Skunk of Spring” 321

Anne Spencer “[Earth, I Thank You]” 325

Sean Hill “Bemidji in Spring” 326

Nikki Giovanni “Winter Poem” 328

Claude McKay “After the Winter” 329

Joanne V. Gabbin “For Alexis” 330

Ross Gay “Thank You” 333

George Marion McClellan “Spring Dawn” 334

James Weldon Johnson “Deep in the Quiet Wood” 335

Alice Dunbar-Nelson “Violets” 336

Claudia Rankine “The Man. His Bowl. His Raspberries.” 337

Camille T. Dungy “What to Eat, and What to Drink, and What to Leave for Poison” 338

Langston Hughes “Earth Song” 342

Jessie Redmon Fauset “Rondeau” 343

Kendra Hamilton “Southern Living” 344

Elizabeth Alexander “Geraniums” 346

Margaret Walker “My Mississippi Spring” 347

Tim Seibles “Fearless” 348

Credits 351

List of Contributors 361

Index of Authors 379

Index of Titles 383

Product Details

Dungy, Camille T.
University of Georgia Press
American poetry - African American authors
American - African American
Anthologies (multiple authors)
Poetry/African American
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
9 x 6 x 1 in 1.29 lb

Other books you might like

  1. The Persistence of Objects (American... New Trade Paper $14.95
  2. The Theater of Night New Trade Paper $14.50
  3. Unraveling at the Name New Trade Paper $13.50
  4. San Francisco Poet Laureate #03:... New Trade Paper $9.95
  5. Mr. Pleasant New Trade Paper $15.25
  6. Naked Ladies Used Trade Paper $8.50

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » American » African American
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Anthologies
History and Social Science » African American Studies » Anthologies

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$25.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820334318 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Dungy's unique, enlightening, and heart-opening anthology embraces George Moses Horton, who lived as a slave, and today's award-winning Cyrus Cassells, haiku by Richard Wright, and poems funny, smart, sexy, devastating, and exquisite...each expressing provocative perceptions of the great tide of existence."
"Review" by , "Expanding the realm of traditional nature poetry and African American writings, this work will appeal to readers of both genres."
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at