Trophic Cascade

Camille T Dungy (Author)


Winner of the Colorado Book Award in Poetry (2018)

In this fourth book in a series of award-winning survival narratives, Dungy writes positioned at a fulcrum, bringing a new life into the world even as her elders are passing on. In a time of massive environmental degradation, violence and abuse of power, a world in which we all must survive, these poems resonate within and beyond the scope of the human realms, delicately balancing between conflicting loci of attention. Dwelling between vibrancy and its opposite, Dungy writes in a single poem about a mother, a daughter, Smokin' Joe Frazier, brittle stars, giant boulders, and a dead blue whale. These poems are written in the face of despair to hold an impossible love and a commitment to hope. A readers companion will be availabe at

Product Details

$14.95  $13.75
Wesleyan University Press
Publish Date
November 01, 2018
6.8 X 0.4 X 8.8 inches | 0.4 pounds
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About the Author

CAMILLE DUNGY is the author of Smith Blue, winner of the 2010 Crab Orchard Open Book Prize, Suck on the Marrow, winner of the American Book Award, What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison, and a collection of personal essays, Trophic Cascade. She is editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, co editor of From the Fishouse: An anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great, and assistant editor of Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade. She is a professor of English at Colorado State University.


"Dungy asks how we can survive despair and finds her answers close to the earth."--Diana Whitney, Kenyon Review

"Earthly and visionary, a soulful reckoning for our twenty-first century, held in focus through echoes of the past and future, but always firmly rooted in now. Each poem is a bridge in the music of a language that we believe and trust, that heals."--Yusef Komunyakaa, author of Pleasure Dome

"[W]hat it means to be truly alive seeps into even the simplest of actions Dungy's poems depict a universe of clockwork precision whose logic can be too complex for mortal minds"--Publishers Weekly

"This is the work of a feminist whose voice is confident, authoritative--it is a book that does not wonder about or meditate on so much as sing, declare, witness, order, elegize. Dungy's poems manifest an uneasy self-perception, but--or I should say, and--their source is strength and love. The combination makes Trophic Cascade urgent and necessary."--Joy Katz, author of All You Do Is Perceive

"[Trophic Cascade] asks us, in spite of the pain or difficulty of being human today, to find joy and vibrancy in our experiences"--Elizabeth Flock, PBS Newshour

"Beneath her matter-of-fact, easy-going, sit-yourself-down, let-me-tell-it-like-it-is chatifying. Her power we take deadly seriously."--Matt Sutherland, Foreword Reviews

"Dungy asks how we can survive despair and finds her answers close to the earth."--Diana Whitney, Kenyon Review

"Trophic Cascade frequently bears witness-to violence, to loss, to environmental degradation-but for Dungy, witnessing entails hope."--Julie Swarstad Johnson, Harvard Review Online