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Poetry Friday: "Beyond Katrina"

I really want to buy this book as soon as I can: Natasha Trethewey's Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press, 2010). Like Trethewey, I grew up in Mississippi, too (though not on the Coast). I listened to an interview with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air," and Trethewey's sadness was heart-wrenching. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose mother was murdered (by Trethewey's step-father) and whose brother was incarcerated for a time.

A Mississippi native and a professor at Emory, Trethewey talked to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Beyond Katrina, which the AJC calls "an amalgam of memoir, reportage and poetry."  She mentioned another Southern poet, several generations removed.

The book, she said, was modeled after "Segregation," poet Robert Penn Warren's series of informal conversations with Southerners after the Brown v. the Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision changed racial politics in the South. ‘"It was a pilgrimage for him to rethink his own feelings about the region, to take stock," she said. "He was figuring out something about himself as much as he was figuring out something about the region."

Beyond Katrina is for adults, but I'm sure some teenagers would be interested, too. I've mentioned Trethewey's work several times, and included a link to her poem "Pilgrimage" a few years back. 

The Poetry Friday roundup is at Book Aunt today. You'll find lots more links to poetry for children and adults there.


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Thank you for alerting me to this book, and for the beautiful post. I love Native Guard, and can see how it links, pulling together people and place, to the quote about figuring out self and region. Of course some teenagers would be interested. The way she blends history and the present, and the way she uses language, has been a real inspiration to me.

I am so glad to hear from another Trethewey fan! Her work is inspiration to me, too, Jeannine. I am hoping to get Beyond Katrina tomorrow. The Robert Penn Warren connection caught me by surprise; I've never seen the book she mentions but am now intrigued about it as well.

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