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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 811.6/Trethewey Checked In
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012.
Main Author
Natasha D. Trethewey, 1966- (-)
Item Description
Physical Description
84 p. ; 24 cm
  • Elegy
  • Miracle of the Black Leg
  • On Captivity
  • Taxonomy
  • 1. De Español y de India Produce Mestiso
  • 2. De Español y Negra Produce Mulato
  • 3. De Español yMestiza Produce Castiza
  • 4. The Book of Castas
  • Kitchen Maid with Supper at Emmaus; or, The Mulata
  • Knowledge
  • The Americans
  • 1. Dr. Samuel Adolphus Cartwright on Dissecting the White Negro, 1851
  • 2. Blood
  • 3. Help, 1968
  • Mono Prieta
  • De Español y Negra; Mulata
  • Mythology
  • 1. Nostos
  • 2. Questions Posed by the Dream
  • 3. Siren
  • Geography
  • Torna Atrás
  • Bird in the House
  • Artifact
  • Fouled
  • Rotation
  • Thrall
  • Calling
  • Enlightenment
  • How the Past Comes Back
  • On Happiness
  • Vespertina Cognitio
  • Illumination
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
Review by Booklist Review

When Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced Trethewey's appointment as the 2012-13 U.S. Poet Laureate, he drew attention to the way her poems dig beneath the surface of history, both national and familial. In Trethewey's Pulitzer Prize-winning Native Guard (2006), this historical excavation takes the form of a figurative uprooting of Southern Agrarian poets, like Allen Tate and Robert Penn Warren, while honoring her own maternal heritage. In Thrall, Trethewey examines the conflicting feelings of resentment and gratitude a biracial woman harbors toward her white father. In poems that again exhibit her gift for finding in microcosmic form the specter of societal relations, Trethewey makes explicit historically ignored ideas that underlie (a very literal) enlightenment. By focusing on the artistically talented slave of the painter Diego Velazquez, rather than the famous master, or by unpacking the strange taxonomies of skin tone in colonial Mexico, Trethewey continues important work toward internalizing and making tangible for today's readers large swaths of racial legacy. This latest collection appears just as Trethewey begins her tenure as U.S. Poet Laureate.--Baez, Diego Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Trethewey made headlines and signaled a generational shift with her appointment this year as U.S. poet laureate. Already known for her 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning Native Guard and for her articulate, deftly shaped, and sometimes research-driven poems about history and race, Trethewey in this fourth collection takes her familiar powers to non-U.S. turf, considering race, embodiment, guilt and liberation in paintings from Spain and Mexico. In one of the famous casta paintings illustrating Spanish colonial notions of race, a mulatto boy "is a palimpsest of paint--/ layers of color, history rendering him// that precise shade of in-between." Lightly rhymed pentameters about Diego Velazquez's painting "Kitchen Maid" pay homage to the scrutinized character: "she is the mortar/ and the pestle and rest in the mortar--still angled/ in its posture of use"; the patient title poem considers Juan de Pareja, a painter who started life as Velazquez's slave. When Trethewey turns her attention back to contemporary America, she looks at her own family: her late African-American mother and her white father, his life "showing me// how one life is bound to another, that hardship/ endures." Trethewey's ideas are not always original, but her searching treatments of her own family, and of people in paintings, show strength and care, and a sharp sense of line. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize (for Native Ground) and current U.S. poet laureate, Trethewey again places racial identity at the conceptual center of her finely crafted verse, in particular the depiction of mixed-race peoples as filtered through the lens of her own biracial heritage and the passing of her father, from whom she had long been estranged ("a history that links us-white, father, black daughter/-even as it renders us other to each other"). A number of ekphrastic poems deconstruct centuries-old artworks-"miracle transplant" paintings in which black donors sacrifice limbs for white recipients ("a body in service, plundered"), the Casta paintings of colonial Mexico, even a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, "rendered two-toned.as if the artist meant to contrast/his bright knowledge, its dark subtext"-as Trethewey's acute understanding of how "the past holds us captive" leads to insightful and often moving interactions between public and private histories. VERDICT Though several elegies for her father are unremarkable, the lion's share of Thrall conveys a wise and revelatory urgency appropriate to one of the vital social concerns of our time. Recommended for most collections.-Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Elegy For my father I think by now the river must be thick    with salmon. Late August, I imagine it as it was that morning: drizzle needling    the surface, mist at the banks like a net settling around us--everything damp    and shining. That morning, awkward and heavy in our hip waders, we stalked    into the current and found our places-- you upstream a few yards and out    far deeper. You must remember how the river seeped in over your boots    and you grew heavier with that defeat. All day I kept turning to watch you, how    first you mimed our guide's casting then cast your invisible line, slicing the sky    between us; and later, rod in hand, how you tried--again and again--to find    that perfect arc, flight of an insect skimming the river's surface. Perhaps    you recall I cast my line and reeled in two small trout we could not keep.    Because I had to release them, I confess, I thought about the past--working    the hooks loose, the fish writhing in my hands, each one slipping away    before I could let go. I can tell you now that I tried to take it all in, record it    for an elegy I'd write--one day-- when the time came. Your daughter,    I was that ruthless. What does it matter if I tell you I learned to be? You kept casting    your line, and when it did not come back empty, it was tangled with mine. Some nights,    dreaming, I step again into the small boat that carried us out and watch the bank receding--    my back to where I know we are headed. Kitchen Maid with Supper at Emmaus; or, The Mulata After the painting by Diego Velàzquez, c. 1619 She is the vessels on the table before her: the copper pot tipped toward us, the white pitcher clutched in her hand, the black one edged in red and upside down. Bent over, she is the mortar and the pestle at rest in the mortar--still angled in its posture of use. She is the stack of bowls and the bulb of garlic beside it, the basket hung by a nail on the wall and the white cloth bundled in it, the rag in the foreground recalling her hand. She's the stain on the wall the size of her shadow-- the color of blood, the shape of a thumb. She is echo of Jesus at table, framed in the scene behind her: his white corona, her white cap. Listening, she leans into what she knows. Light falls on half her face. Mano Prieta The green drapery is like a sheet of water    behind us--a cascade in the backdrop of the photograph, a rushing current that would scatter us, carry us each    away. This is 1969 and I am three-- still light enough to be nearly the color of my father. His armchair is a throne    and I am leaning into him, propped against his knees--his hand draped across my shoulder. On the chair's arm    my mother looms above me, perched at the edge as though she would fall off. The camera records    her single gesture. Perhaps to still me, she presses my arm with a forefinger, makes visible a hypothesis of blood,    its empire of words: the imprint on my body of her lovely dark hand. Mythology 1. NOSTOS Here is the dark night of childhood--flickering lamplight, odd shadows on the walls--giant and flame projected through the clear frame of my father's voice. Here is the past come back as metaphor: my father, as if to ease me into sleep, reciting the trials of Odysseus. Always he begins with the Cyclops, light at the cave's mouth bright as knowledge, the pilgrim honing a pencil-sharp stake. 2. QUESTIONS POSED BY THE DREAM It's the old place on Jefferson Street I've entered, a girl again, the house dark and everyone sleeping--so quiet it seems I'm alone. What can this mean now, more than thirty years gone, to find myself at the beginning of that long hallway knowing, as I did then, what stands at the other end? And why does the past come back like this: looming, a human figure formed--as if it had risen from the Gulf --of the crushed shells that paved our driveway, a sharp-edged creature that could be conjured only by longing? Why is it here blocking the dark passage to my father's bookshelves, his many books? 3. SIREN In this dream I am driving a car, strapped to my seat like Odysseus to the mast, my father calling to me from the back--luring me to a past that never was. This is the treachery of nostalgia. This is the moment before a ship could crash onto the rocks, the car's back wheels tip over a cliff. Steering, I must be the crew, my ears deaf to the sound of my father's voice; I must be the captive listener cleaving to his words. I must be singing this song to myself. Excerpted from Thrall: Poems by Natasha Trethewey All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.