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Award-winning nature poet to present Otis Lecture

Camille Dungy, an award-winning environmental poet and editor of the first anthology of nature poetry by African American writers, presents the Otis Lecture at Bates College at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

Sponsored by the Philip J. Otis Endowment at Bates, the event is open to the public at no cost, but tickets are required.

To reserve tickets or for more information, please contact 207-786-6135 or olinarts@bates.edu. Unclaimed reservations will be released at 7:15 p.m.  on the night of the lecture.

A reception and book signing follow the lecture.

An associate professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, Dungy feels a sharp imperative to write about the widening gaps in nature’s fabric. Most people in the world are people of color, and most people of color live in damaged environments, she told Inkspot blogger Maisha Johnson.

“If we as people of color aren’t globally conscious of environmental degradation, we are wreaking havoc on lots of brown people” — and writing, she said, is “a really good way to get people conscious of that.”

Dungy is the author of the award-winning Smith Blue (Southern Illinois University Press), a collection of poems that explore, with fury and tenderness, the countless ways in which we invite and suffer from catastrophe. Her other collections are Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press, 2010), a fictional gallery of former slaves and free blacks, particularly women, that won the 2011 American Book Award; and her debut, What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (Red Hen, 2006).

She graduated from Stanford University and the master’s in fine arts program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (University of Georgia Press, 2009), the first anthology of nature poetry by African American writers.



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