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Friday, February 29, 2008

Native Guard

Natasha Tretheway was recently in Jackson to receive the Governor's Award for literary excellence in the arts. I had the opportunity to hear her read from her Pulitzer Prize winning volume of poetry, Native Guard. She read in her rich, expressive voice the poem which sets the tone for this remarkable volume, written for her mother, in memory.
From, Theories Of Time And Space:

"You can get there from here, though
there's no going home.
Everywhere you go will be somewhere
you've never been, Try this....

Tretheway speaks of her childhood in the Deep South---she, the product of a white father and a black mother
"In 1964 my parents broke two laws of Mississippi
they went to Ohio to marry, returned to Mississippi

She also speaks of the Louisiana Native Guards--a black regiment serving in the Civil War:
" The ghost of history lies down beside me"

The poems are profound and moving--poems to be read more than once, each reading providing new insight and enjoyment.