Native Guard: A Pulitzer Prize Winner
Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard is a deeply personal volume that brings together two legacies of the Deep South.
Through elegaic 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.
The title of the collection refers to the black regiment whose role in the Civil War has been largely overlooked by history. As a child in Gulfport, Mississippi, in the 1960s, Trethewey could gaze across the water to the fort on Ship Island where Confederate captives once were guarded by black soldiers serving the Union cause.
The racial legacy of the South touched Trethewey’s life on a much more immediate level, too. Many of the poems in Native Guard pay loving tribute to her mother, whose marriage to a white man was illegal in her native Mississippi in the 1960s. Years after her mother’s tragic death, Trethewey reclaims her memory, just as she reclaims the voices of the black soldiers whose service has been all but forgotten.
Trethewey's resonant and beguiling collection is a haunting conversation between personal experience and national history.
About the Author
NATASHA TRETHEWEY, two-term U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, and 2017 Heinz Award recipient, has written five collections of poetry and one book of nonfiction. An American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow, she is currently Board of Trustees professor of English at Northwestern University. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Praise for Native Guard: A Pulitzer Prize Winner
"Elegiac...eloquently told...profoundly moving...Trethewey is clearly a poet to savor." --Maxine Kumin
"In a very few years Natasha Trethewey has created a small body of nearly flawless poetry." --Rodney Jones
"[Natasha Tretheway’s] voice is a rare, beautiful gift to the reader." --William Ferris, Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History, UNC Chapel Hill
"Natasha Trethewey serves our profound need for that rare thing—artistically fine Civil War poetry...She is our Native Guard." --David Madden, Louisiana State University, author of Sharpshooter: A Novel of the Civil War —