Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode where my guest is poet and scholar Camille Dungy. Camille has documented how she diversified her garden to reflect her heritage in her book ‘Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden’. We talk about the politics of gardening, planting a nature garden and how nature writing has influenced our gardens in the past and how it can shape the way we do so in the future.

Dr Ian Bedford’s Bug of the Week: Bloodsuckers

What We Talk About 

Why Camille believes “Every politically engaged person should have a garden”

The idea behind Camille’s pollinator garden in Colorado

Gardens that offer something more than beauty

Is there something we can do to make ourselves take more thinking, creating time?

The state of modern nature writing

The lessons learnt from gardening

“If I cultivate a flourishing I want its reach to be wide”. What Camille means by this.

About Camille Dungy

Camille T. Dungy is the author of Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden (Simon & Schuster: May 2, 2023). She has also written Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and four collections of poetry, including Trophic Cascade, winner of the Colorado Book Award. Dungy edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, the first anthology to bring African American environmental poetry to national attention. She also co-edited the From the Fishouse poetry anthology and served as assistant editor for Gathering Ground: Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade. 

Dungy is the poetry editor for Orion magazine. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, 100 Best African American Poems, Best American Essays, The 1619 Project, All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, over 40 other anthologies, plus dozens of venues including The New Yorker, Poetry, Literary Hub, The Paris Review, and You may know her as the host of Immaterial, a podcast from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Magnificent Noise. A University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, Dungy’s honors include the 2021 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Book Award, and fellowships from the NEA in both prose and poetry. 


Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden by Camille Dungy – Simon & Schuster, May 2023


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