Native Guard

Natasha Trethewey, Author . Houghton Mifflin $22 (51p) ISBN 978-0-618-60463-0

Trethewey (Domestic Work ) draws on the life of her deceased mother and on the history of Mississippi, where the poet and her mother's family grew up, to limn a multiracial South and her own multiracial heritage. One poem tries to preserve her mother's memory ("certain the sounds I make/ are enough to call someone home"); the title poem's set of linked sonnets, where the last line of each one becomes the first line of the next, presents black Union soldiers who "keep/ white men as prisoners—rebel soldiers,/ would-be masters." A pantoun remembers the night Trethewey's family discovered a burning cross on her lawn; the concluding poem condenses the poet's mixed—and compelling—feelings about "Mississippi, state that made a crime// of me—mulatto, half-breed, native—/ in my native land, this place they'll bury me." (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/23/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
Hardcover - 51 pages - 978-0-547-05548-0
Paperback - 51 pages - 978-0-618-87265-7
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