Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Natasha Trethewey, Author
Natasha Trethewey, Univ. of Georgia, $22.95 (144p) ISBN 9780820333816
Reviewed on: 09/20/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Open Ebook - 127 pages - 978-1-282-79579-2
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Trethewey opens her powerful meditation with "You can get there from here, though there's no going home," a line taken from her Pulitzer Prize-winning 2007 book, Native Guard. When she wrote that line she was "thinking figuratively" about the passage of time; now "the poem had become quite literal." Trethewey combines poetry, prose, and correspondence to paint a poignant picture of the effects of Katrina on her family and on the black community in which she grew up. She writes of her 92-year-old grandmother who didn't eat for weeks after she was evacuated from her home. Disoriented, she moved to Atlanta to live with the author before entering the nursing home where she would soon die. Trethewey also relates the sad story of her brother, Joe. When some homes he owned were destroyed in the flood, he took what odd jobs he could get on the coast before eventually transporting cocaine for an acquaintance. He was caught and sentenced to 15 years in prison. By looking at the vast devastation with sober and poetic eyes, Trethewey has written a hauntingly beautiful book. (Sept.)
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