Native Guard: Poems; Natasha Trethewey
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Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard is a deeply personal volume that brings together two legacies of the Deep South. Through elegaic verse that honors her mother and tells of her own fraught childhood, Natasha Trethewey confronts the racial legacy of her native Deep South—--where one of the first black regiments, The Louisiana Native Guards, was called into service during the Civil War. The title of the collection refers to the black regiment whose role in the Civil War has been largely overlooked by history. As a child in Gulfport, Mississippi, in the 1960s, Trethewey could gaze across the water to the fort on Ship Island where Confederate captives once were guarded by black soldiers serving the Union cause. The racial legacy of the South touched Trethewey’s life on a much more immediate level, too. Many of the poems in Native Guard pay loving tribute to her mother, whose marriage to a white man was illegal in her native Mississippi in the 1960s. Years after her mother’s tragic death, Trethewey reclaims her memory, just as she reclaims the voices of the black soldiers whose service has been all but forgotten. Trethewey's resonant and beguiling collection is a haunting conversation between personal experience and national history.
March 1, 2006
About the Author
Natasha Trethewey is an American poet who was appointed United States Poet Laureate in June 2012; she began her official duties in September. She won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her 2006 collection Native Guard, and she is the Poet Laureate of Mississippi.