Camille Dungy's Suck on the Marrow exhumes a troublesome history through imagery and focuses us in the modern psyche. The metaphors are so apt and concrete that we not only witness and experience slavery within an artful frame, but also with all the nerve endings exposed. This collection embraces the act of imagining acutely, whereby imagination becomes almost an action. In fact, Suck on the Marrow plots a path back to the Southern soil, to common people, back to a double-binding pathos of pain and beauty through language.
Camille Dungy’s important new collection, Suck on the Marrow, explores the lives of African Americans in the 19th century, illuminating parts of slave and free black experience that are often overlooked. Plainspoken and unflinching, these poems enter the interior landscapes of the characters’ psyches to examine the nature of desire and longing and loss. With restraint and wry wit, Dungy shows us these things underscored by ownership and commodity. Foregrounding the stories of people for whom fewer records have been left, Suck on the Marrow offers us a fuller view of our collective American experience.