Thursday, July 26, 2007

Natasha Trethewey: Native Pulitzer

Natasha Trethewey will blow your socks off. Listen to the Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross. Then go purchase the book Native Guard: Poems, this year's Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry.

Native Guard: Poems also is available at the Fairfax County Public Library (or the library of your choice, I'm sure, for you non-Fairfacians)— so check it out, then go buy it. Just please read it.

What are you still doing here? Go listen to the interview. You will literally exclaim aloud at the terrible beauty of the poems and the grace with which she reads them and responds to them. The stories she tells are touching and compelling.

Have I steered you wrong yet about poetry?

And if you aren't sure what you're missing, here's one she reads on Fresh Air — but you get it only if you promise to go listen, then borrow or purchase her book (like I did even before I got my hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — that's how good it is).

What is Evidence

Not the fleeing bruises she'd cover
with makeup, a dark patch as if imprint
of a scope she'd pressed her eye too close to,
looking for a way out, nor the quiver
in the voice she'd steady, leaning
into a pot of bones on the stove. Not
the teeth she wore in place of her own, or
the official document — its seal
and smeared signature — fading already,
the edge wearing. Not the tiny marker
with its dates, her name, abstract as history.
Only the landscape of her body — splintered
clavicle, pierced temporal — her thin bones
settling a bit each day, the way all things do.

Now. Go listen to Fresh Air and read her book. You can thank me later.

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