NATASHA TRETHEWEY is the current U.S. Poet Laureate and is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University. Native Guard, her third collection of poetry, received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was published in 2010. A new collection of poetry, Thrall, is forthcoming in September.
Trethewey (Domestic Work) draws on the life of her deceased mother and on the history of Mississippi, where the poet and her mother's family grew up, to limn a multiracial South and her own multiracial heritage. One poem tries to preserve her mother's memory ("certain the sounds I make/ are enough to call someone home"); the title poem's set of linked sonnets, where the last line of each one becomes the first line of the next, presents black Union soldiers who "keep/ white men as prisoners-rebel soldiers,/ would-be masters." A pantoun remembers the night Trethewey's family discovered a burning cross on her lawn; the concluding poem condenses the poet's mixed-and compelling-feelings about "Mississippi, state that made a crime// of me-mulatto, half-breed, native-/ in my native land, this place they'll bury me." (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Inaugural winner of the Cave Caen Poetry Prize, Trethewey uses her third collection to explore Southern history, focusing her steadfast prose on African Americans mustered into the Union Army. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Trethewey serves our profound need for that rare thing -- artistically fine Civil War poetry...She is our Native Guard." -- David Madden, author of Sharpshooter
"The graceful form conceals a gritty subject...Trethewey has a gift for squeezing the contradictions of the South into very tightly controlled lines." -- Book World The Washington Post "[Native Guard] consistently presents Trethewey's belief that history is layered, full of bones and ghosts, and that the poet's job is to penetrate and expose." St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Trethewey is sure-handed in her use of language and fearless in confronting her own personal issues." The Advocate "A moving testimony." Atlanta Journal Constitution "Elegiac...eloquently told...profoundly moving...Trethewey is clearly a poet to savor." --Maxine Kumin "In a very few years Natasha Trethewey has created a small body of nearly flawless poetry." --Rodney Jones "[Natasha Tretheway's] voice is a rare, beautiful gift to the reader." --William Ferris, Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History, UNC Chapel Hill