Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry

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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.


Elizabeth Alexander

Alvin Aubert

Gerald Barrax

Remica Bingham

Cyrus Cassells

Lucille Clifton

Wanda Coleman

Toi Derricotte

Rita Dove

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Cornelius Eady

Thomas Sayers Ellis

Joanne Gabbin

Nikki Giovanni

Kendra Hamilton

Terrance Hayes

Sean Hill

Langston Hughes

Major Jackson

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Douglas Kearney

Yusef Komunyakaa

Clarence Major

Mark McMorris

E. Miller

Kamilah Aisha Moon

Indigo Moor

Lenard Moore

Thylias Moss

Harryette Mullen

Gregory Pardlo

Cynthia Parker-Ohene

Carl Phillips

Stephanie Pruitt

Claudia Rankine

Tim Seibles

Evie Shockley

Patricia Smith

Jean Toomer

Natasha Trethewey

Alice Walker

Frank X Walker

Margaret Walker

Afaa Weaver

Al Young

Kwame Alexander

Tara Betts

Arna Bontemps

Shane Book

Gwendolyn Brooks

Sterling A. Brown

Melvin Dixon

Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson

James A. Emanuel

Jessie Redmon Fauset

Ross Gay

C. S. Giscombe

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Myronn Hardy

Michael S. Harper

Janice N. Harrington

Robert Hayden

George Moses Horton

Ravi Howard

Amaud Jamaul Johnson

Helene Johnson

James Weldon Johnson

Patricia Spears Jones

June Jordan

Ruth Ellen Kocher

Audre Lorde

devorah major

Shara McCallum

George Marion McClellan

Claude McKay

Marilyn Nelson

G. E. Patterson

Ishmael Reed

Ed Roberson

Mona Lisa Saloy

Reginald Shepherd

Anne Spencer

Amber Flora Thomas

Melvin B. Tolson

Askia M. Touré

Wendy S. Walters

Anthony Walton

Phillis Wheatley

Albery Whitman

Sherley Anne Williams

Richard Wright

Toni Wynn

Camille Dungy