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Soil by Camille T Dungy
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Soil

The Story of a Black Mother's Garden

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Narrator Camille T Dungy

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Length 10 hours 16 minutes
Language English
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A “heartfelt and thoroughly enriching” (Aimee Nezhukumatathil, New York Times bestselling author of World of Wonders) work that expands on how we talk about the natural world and the environment as National Book Critics Circle finalist Camille T. Dungy diversifies her garden to reflect her heritage.

In Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden poet and scholar Camille T. Dungy recounts the seven-year odyssey to diversify her garden in the predominantly white community of Fort Collins, Colorado. When she moved there in 2013, with her husband and daughter, the community held strict restrictions about what residents could and could not plant in their gardens.

In resistance to the homogenous policies that limited the possibility and wonder that grows from the earth, Dungy employs the various plants, herbs, vegetables, and flowers she grows in her garden as metaphor and treatise for how homogeneity threatens the future of our planet, and why cultivating diverse and intersectional language in our national discourse about the environment is the best means of protecting it.

“Brilliant and beautiful” (Ross Gay, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Delights), Soil functions as the nexus of nature writing, environmental justice, and prose to encourage you to recognize the relationship between the people of the African diaspora and the land on which they live, and to understand that wherever soil rests beneath their feet is home.

Camille T. Dungy is the author of the essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has edited three anthologies, including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. Her honors include the 2021 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an American Book Award. She is a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University.

Camille T. Dungy is the author of the essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has edited three anthologies, including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. Her honors include the 2021 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an American Book Award. She is a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University.

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Reviews

"In this quiet and far-ranging blend of memoir, history, and nature writing, poet Camille T. Dungy uses her small garden in Colorado to explore topics ranging from the isolation of parenting during Covid to the history of Black nature writing. Her narration, like her writing, is both careful and warm. In her prose and with her voice, she excels at drawing vivid pictures. It’s impossible not to feel like you’re right there with her, tending to native prairie grasses and harvesting baskets of colorful squash. This is a beautiful meditation on the complex web of human and nonhuman relationships that surround us, and a welcome addition to the growing canon of environmental literature that centers the knowledge and experiences of Black women." Expand reviews

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