What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison

In each section of What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison, the life experiences of individual Americans (family, famous, and infamous) serve as a frame of reference for exploring 20th century American life, specifically the role of race in the development and sustenance of personal relationships and aspirations. The book’s three sections are framed by sonnets which serve as meditations on certain disappeared and disappearing aspects of the natural world, reminding us that just as with family, authority, and urban spaces, conflicted relationships with plants, animals, and open spaces are an enduring legacy of our histories.

ADVANCE PRAISE


“Camille Dungy knows where she comes from. What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison is one of those family dinners where, hours later, everyone is still talking across the table. But, as in every family, things are complicated. Here, beneath overt sweetness, lurks covert rebellion. Which is just another way to say that these poems have both heart and irony. This is a fine first book.”—Lola Haskins, author of Desire Lines (Boa Editions)

“In the title sequence of What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison, Camille Dungy invites her readers to “taste/what the world has to offer.” It is a tall order and the author herself leads by example and fulfills it marvelously, offering a stunning first collection that is both sweet with the richness of life and laced with the bitterness of knowledge. Through lyrics, portraits, narratives, and monologues, she explores the intricate relationship between her own family and the human family, personal history and American history, the human world and the ways humans have treated the Earth. What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison, is a work of sweep, breadth, and abundance—a major and magnificent book.”—Stuart Dischell, author of Dig Safe (Penguin) and Evenings and Avenues (Penguin)


Camille Dungy ( Author Website )

Publication Date: February 28, 2006

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$15.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-000-1

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From the Antioch Review

What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison by Camille T. Dungy. Red Hen Press, 88 pp., $15.95 (paper). Dungy’s powerful first collection recognizes language–“A stranger’s voice echoing […]
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