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. (Author photo by Nancy Crampton)
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.
"Natasha Trethewey's Thrall is simply the finest work of her already distinguished career. This remarkable collection carries the reader from troubling ekphrastic reflections upon colonial depictions of mixed race—meditations of superbly nuanced cultural and historical resonance—to a stunningly personal album of self-portraits of the poet with her father. Rarely has any poetic intersection of cultural and personal histories felt more inevitable, more painful, or profound."
—David St. John
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt