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811.6/Trethewey
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Location Call Number   Status
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Published
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012.
Language
English
Item Description
Poems
Physical Description
84 p. ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780547571607
0547571607
Main Author
Natasha D. Trethewey, 1966- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

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 Velázquez, 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. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

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 [Page 103]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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 Velázquez'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 Velázquez'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.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Collects the author's poems as she reflects on her own interracial ancestry, her estrangement from her father, and their place in the history of race in America.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The stunning follow-up volume to Natasha Trethewey's Pulitzer Prize–winning Native Guard, by the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States. Natasha Trethewey’s poems are at once deeply personal and historical—exploring her own interracial and complicated roots—and utterly American, connecting them to ours. The daughter of a black mother and white father, a student of history and of the Deep South, she is inspired by everything from colonial paintings of mulattos and mestizos to the stories of people forgotten by history. Meditations on captivity, knowledge, and inheritance permeate Thrall, as she reflects on a series of small estrangements from her poet father and comes to an understanding of how, as father and daughter, they are part of the ongoing history of race in America.Thrall confirms not only that Natasha Trethewey is one of our most gifted and necessary poets but that she is also one of our most brilliant and fearless.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Thrall examines the deeply ingrained and often unexamined notions of racial difference across time and space. Through a consideration of historical documents and paintings, Natasha Trethewey'Pulitzer-prize winning author of Native Guard'highlight the contours and complexities of her relationship with her white father and the ongoing history of race in America.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The stunning follow-up volume to her 2007 Pulitzer Prize'winning Native Guard, by America's new Poet LaureateNatasha Trethewey's poems are at once deeply personal and historical'exploring her own interracial and complicated roots'and utterly American, connecting them to ours. The daughter of a black mother and white father, a student of history and of the Deep South, she is inspired by everything from colonial paintings of mulattos and mestizos to the stories of people forgotten by history. Meditations on captivity, knowledge, and inheritance permeate Thrall, as she reflects on a series of small estrangements from her poet father and comes to an understanding of how, as father and daughter, they are part of the ongoing history of race in America. Thrall confirms not only that Natasha Trethewey is one of our most gifted and necessary poets but that she is also one of our most brilliant and fearless.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

Thrall examines the deeply ingrained and often unexamined notions of racial difference across time and space. Through a consideration of historical documents and paintings, Natasha Trethewey—Pulitzer-prize winning author of Native Guard—highlight the contours and complexities of her relationship with her white father and the ongoing history of race in America.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

The stunning follow-up volume to her 2007 Pulitzer Prize–winning Native Guard, by America’s new Poet LaureateNatasha Trethewey’s poems are at once deeply personal and historical—exploring her own interracial and complicated roots—and utterly American, connecting them to ours. The daughter of a black mother and white father, a student of history and of the Deep South, she is inspired by everything from colonial paintings of mulattos and mestizos to the stories of people forgotten by history. Meditations on captivity, knowledge, and inheritance permeate Thrall, as she reflects on a series of small estrangements from her poet father and comes to an understanding of how, as father and daughter, they are part of the ongoing history of race in America. Thrall confirms not only that Natasha Trethewey is one of our most gifted and necessary poets but that she is also one of our most brilliant and fearless.