Soil: The Story of a Black Mother's Garden (Hardcover)
A seminal work that expands how we talk about the natural world and the environment as National Book Critics Circle Criticism 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 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.
Definitive and singular, Soil functions at the nexus of nature writing, environmental justice, and prose to encourage you to recognize the relationship between the peoples of the African diaspora and the land on which they live, and to understand that wherever soil rests beneath their feet is home.
About the Author
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, an and an American Book Award. She is a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University.
“Camille Dungy's SOIL is an instant classic. Provocative, beautifully written, and also wildly informative, this memoir cum manifesto asks us to contemplate our responsibility to our land – and each other. I felt transformed by this graceful and generous book.”—JAMI ATTENBERG, author of I Came All This Way to Meet You
“In SOIL, Camille Dungy welcomes us into an abundant, intimate, unfurling space — the exterior landscape of her garden and the interior landscape of her sapience. To dig in the dirt, we learn, is also to dig up and into history, identity, ecology, hope. Dungy shows, by example, how to honor the pain and the possibility of whatever fraught, holy ground we each call home. A deeply life-giving book.”—KATHERINE WILKINSON, Executive Director of The All We Can Save Project
"With this book Dungy shows, by comparison, how unrooted so many of us are – ecologically, historically, and socially – and makes a poetic case that home is where you know the plants. This poignant, lovely work will make you want to nurture a garden, and all life."—AYANA JOHNSON, Co-founder, Urban Ocean Lab