Native Guard

Native Guard
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Southern Spaces. Search form Search. Elegy for the Native Guards Natasha Trethewey. Natasha Trethewey. Emory University. Poem Elegy for the Native Guards Now that the salt of their blood Stiffens the saltier oblivion of the sea.

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She raised three children in Connecticut, as Yankees. With time and saltwater having worn away at the mortar holding the stones together, a restoration project was established in When I started writing those, I really just wanted to write about my grandmother who has lived an extraordinary life. Though the white soldiers are prisoners, the soldier comments that they are equal in a strange way; their positions could change so quickly, one taking the other's place. Insomnia: Poems.

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This website uses cookies as well as similar tools and technologies to understand visitors' experiences. By continuing to use this website, you consent to Columbia University's usage of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice. Prize Winners. The Pulitzer Prize Winner in Poetry.

Columbia University President Lee C. Winning Work. From the book jacket. She is an associate professor of creative writing at Emory University. Finalists Nominated as finalists in Poetry in :. The Jury. Cynthia Huntington chair professor of English , Dartmouth University.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey. Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey. Through elegiac 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.

Trethewey's resonant and beguiling collection is a haunting conversation between personal experience Through elegiac 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. Trethewey's resonant and beguiling collection is a haunting conversation between personal experience and national history. Get A Copy. Paperback , 64 pages.

Published April 3rd by Mariner Books first published March 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Native Guard , please sign up. Lists with This Book.

Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 31, Brina rated it it was amazing Shelves: african-american-literature , poetry , pulitzer-winner , southern-lit. Natasha Trethewey is the southern born daughter of an African American mother and white father at a time when such relations were illegal. Her parents were married in Canada and lived for a time in California, but the pull of the south brought them home.

Elegy for the Native Guards by Natasha Trethewey | Poetry Foundation

Yet, racism reared its ugly head and the couple divorced, but not before molding a daughter who would later go on to be named Poet Laureate of the United States. Today, Trethewey is a professor of creative writing at Emory University. Her poetry Natasha Trethewey is the southern born daughter of an African American mother and white father at a time when such relations were illegal.

Her poetry collection Native Guard which speaks of the history of life in the south won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in and is indeed a powerful collection. Trethewey divides her slim yet poignant volume of poetry into three sections.

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The first and third sections speak of the modern state of affairs in Mississippi, focusing on her parents' marriage and divorce and also the relationships that Trethewey had with various neighbors in her community, which were undoubtedly effected by the fact that Trethewey was mixed race. She begins the collection with a poem titled The Southern Cresecent which describes her mother's journey to California by train. At age sixteen she was escaping a south where she had no future and practiced meeting her future husband by staring at his photograph.

Later, a young Natasha travels by train with her mother to meet her father. She writes, "I don't recall how she must have held me, how her face sank as she realized, again, the uncertainty of it all-- that trip, too, gone wrong. In addition to paying homage to her courageous mother, the second section honors the Native Guard of Louisiana and Mississippi, freed slaves who fought for the union army during the civil war. In Pilgrimage she speaks of the ghosts of history in Vicksburg and how they rear their head even today. Her powerful title poem Native Guard begins with a quote from Frederick Douglass.

Trethewey then details the war from the perspective of freed slaves from late through By February of , they knew it was their "duty now to keep white men as prisoners- rebel soldiers, would-be masters She ends the section by returning to cotton, "where another veteran toils, his hands the color of dark soil," showing that unfortunately slavery still exists in all but name, despite the courage of those like the native guard.

Trethewey finishes her volume with odes to her mother like "Miscegenation" which speaks of the danger a mixed race couple faced in the south. Subsequent poems as "My Mother Dreams Another Country," "Blond," and "Southern Gothic" talk of the danger a mixed race couple dealt with on a daily basis, especially when raising children. Trethewey's own parents eventually divorced and, after reading her words, I am left wondering if hearing their daughter called names like mongrel, half breed, and zebra had anything to do with their decision.

Each poem is more powerful than the next and contain the common theme of racism in the south long after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Prior to this year, I was not a big reader of poetry. Yet, poems open the window to the writer's soul and speak much of human emotions. When I took on a personal challenge of reading a minimum of twenty Pulitzer winners a year, I decided to include poetry. Natasha Trethewey's poetry tells much of life in the south and is worthy of both the Pulitzer and position as Poet Laureate.

Her poems are a powerful five star read, and I look forward to reading her other volumes of work. View all 10 comments. Mar 11, Margaret rated it it was amazing. Trethewey became the Poet Laureate of Mississippi in and still retains that post. One job assigned to this unit was guarding the prison-of-war camp at Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island, Mississippi. Each poem is titled with a date, and begins with a revision of the line that ended the sonnet preceding it.

The first poem in the sequence begins with the end of the last poem, thus it is a crown of connected sonnets. Her revisions of lines are intense, clever and beautiful. For the slave, having a master sharpens the bend into work, the way the sergeant moves us now to perfect battalion drill, dress parade. These connected sonnets tell their story in stunning language, portraying in detail the minds and lives of some of the members of the guard. The irony of their situation former slaves now guarding the allies of their former masters is not lost on them.

Neither is their awareness of the power of the pen. Virginia , the Supreme Court decision which made interracial marriage legal in every state of the United States, including Mississippi. So her very existence combined the strands of Southern history, her very presence a reminder of how those Southern states still, a hundred years after the Civil War was over, had not absorbed the fact that things had changed. The couplets are independent clauses and can stand alone as far as meaning goes.

They crossed the river into Cincinnati, a city whose name begins with a sound like sin , the sound of wrong-- mis in Mississippi. A year later they moved to Canada, followed a route the same as slaves, the train slicing the white glaze of winter, leaving Mississippi. My father was reading War and Peace when he gave me my name. I was born near Easter, , in Mississippi. It was spring, the hills green in Mississippi. I know more than Joe Christmas did. So much happening here. Say it aloud and hear the music. How does she do it? How can I do it too?

Read it and feel its emotional impact. Read it and see what you notice about the structure of its lines, its stanzas. How did she do it? I was asleep while you were dying. So I try taking you back into morning. Sleep-heavy, turning, my eyes open, I find you do not follow. Again and again, this constant forsaking.

Native Guard - Poet Laureate Presentation

You back into morning, sleep-heavy, turning. But in dreams you live. So I try taking, not to let go. The Erebus I keep you in—still, trying— I make between my slumber and my waking. The poems in this book are just so strong and speak a truth so deep and grounded, I am tempted to just copy them all here in this review. I settled for two favorites and some pieces of sonnets to make a point. If you love poetry, this book is key. Get it. Then read it, and read it again. View all 11 comments. Sep 08, Amanda rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry.

This collection is seemingly simple. The language is clear, stripped down, and imagistic. The narratives are straightforward and very easy to follow, especially for those who don't read much poetry "because it is hard to understand. Each poem is layered in so many different ways one could read the book straight-through in 45 minutes and be pleased with the read. But if one rereads it again and again, the layers start shedding--in terms of form, fixed form, line breaks, manuscript organization, response to New Criticisms, etc.

The formal poetry is so veiled by the gorgeous language that I almost didn't even realize it was written in form. How I've longed to be able to pull off that trick! This book is a throw back to older contemporary poetry--in the good way. In other words, Native Guard is sincerely unpretentious. It's not full of experimentation for the sake of experimentation. It's a collection of poetry that is simple--in the complex sense of word, not at all complicated to be complicated. I wholehearted recommend Native Guard to poetry readers and non-poetry readers.

Its poems about loss, history, the South, race, religion, and humanity are accessible yet exceptionally well-crafted. This book clearly deserved to win a Pulitzer Prize, and I'm excited to see what Trethewey will do in the future. View 1 comment. I loved the poems individually and as a whole. Whenever I read a poem, I read it at least twice. The second time is to let the words wash over me, as the first time the content is unfamiliar and I can only seem to focus at first on what the poem says and not how it sounds and flows.

These poems were impressive during both readings. Perhaps because I loved the first section so much, I was slightly less impressed with the latter two sections, but that is only in comparison, because the rest of the book is still wonderful. I especially appreciated learning about a history I didn't know of, that of the Civil War regiments of the Louisiana Native Guard, black soldiers who manned a Union prison of Confederate captives on Ship Island, Mississippi, a place I've driven by many times.

View all 12 comments. Oct 22, Sue rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: poetry readers and lovers, those who'd like to try some poetry. Shelves: poetry , read-in , plan-to-re-read , favorites. This is a wonderful book of poems. The author writes of black regiments during the Civil War, her experiences as a mixed race child in Mississippi, her parents' marriage.

It's a short but packed volume and I highly recommend it to poetry lovers and general readers who would like to try poetry. View all 9 comments. Jan 20, Douglas rated it it was amazing Shelves: all-time-favorites , best-of I read this over two days and most of the poems several times over. The blurbs on the back point out her "elegiac verse that honors her mother and father". Another blurb states, "Trethewey serves our profound need for that rare thing - artistically fine Civil War poetry. They are some of the most deeply American poems I've read.

But even more, they evoked a sense of what it means to be hum I read this over two days and most of the poems several times over. But even more, they evoked a sense of what it means to be human, to be alive with struggle and to desire the penetration of the soul by empathy and understanding from others. I lost my mother a couple of years ago after a long illness. It's caused me to steer clear of books on loss. I honestly didn't know this book was going to deal with Trethewey's loss of her own mother. I wasn't expecting nor wanting to identify with someone else's loss.

But, it happened. And the identifying didn't cause an emotional response, necessarily, but it did force me to remember that day, and the forcing, in the end, turned out to be just what I needed: Myth I was asleep while you were dying. That's how my loss was for me - I identify, I empathize, I know - and that's why there are no limits to what a poem can do. If you are at all interested in modern American poetry, I couldn't recommend this more highly.

There is a reason Trethewey has ascended to the height of Poet Laureate in the budding of her career. This short book of poems is not the trite blurbs on the back, these poems illustrate what it means to be an American, to suffer loss only to overcome in the end. View all 4 comments. Feb 06, Trish rated it it was amazing Shelves: family , history , poetry , nonfiction.

Native Guard Background

These stories are about memory, her own and those of her people. These poems are not just, not only, about race. Who are her people? They are us. Men learn how to fight, how to die, how to live. These poems reconstruct lived experience from memories. Aug 04, Jonfaith rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetshere. In my dream, the ghost of history lies down beside me, rolls over, pins me beneath a heavy arm. I am aware of that heft. I feel by contemplation. I don't think it crushes me with any immediacy. I am a white guy in the middle of nowhere. My wife tells me nightly about being in an immigrant in the same location.

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Native Guard: Poems Paperback – April 3, This item:Native Guard: Poems by Natasha Trethewey Paperback $ NATASHA TRETHEWEY, two-term U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Heinz Award recipient, has written five collections of poetry and one book of. Native Guard [Natasha Trethewey] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Through elegiac verse that honors her mother and tells of her own.

The endless jokes about accents. The questions, the notes on Trump she's asked to endure. The sneers.

Native Guard Background

I was introduced to the author by my departing CEO. I won't forget that. The themes of thi In my dream, the ghost of history lies down beside me, rolls over, pins me beneath a heavy arm. The themes of this collection are blood and soil.