This new collection from the two-time U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner gathers poems from Domestic Work, Bellocq's Ophelia, Native Guard, Congregation, and Thrall, while also including new work written over the last decade.
Natasha Trethewey’s Monument... is a glorious example of what results when one listens — and writes — brilliantly ... Those who are new to her work will marvel at her ability to address difficult subjects — slavery, the challenges of mixed-race families and the murder of her mother — with precision and compassion. These pages clearly demonstrate why Trethewey, whose honors include the Pulitzer Prize and two terms as poet laureate of the United States, is one of our preeminent poets.
There are other soft spots in Monument, moments when Trethewey’s metrical dexterity slackens or her political points are too on the nose. These moments are swamped, however, by the author’s insistent intellect and her gift for turning over rich soil. The human details in Trethewey’s work — those crabs, that music, those cracked palms — are like the small feathers that give contour to a bird’s wing. Monument is a major book, and in her best poems this poet soars.
Trethewey’s genius for dovetailing the personal and the communal, the impressionistic and the factual...kicks off this magnificent new and selected collection ... Trethewey mines documents, scrutinizes paintings and photographs, and transforms concrete objects into engines of emotion and memories as she excavates her southern home ground and illuminates the lives of African Americans, especially women. Here are breathtaking persona poems ... For all the tragic, overlooked history Trethewey reclaims with clarion lyricism, it is her own family complexities and terrible loss that reverberate most. Monument is an essential volume of piercing wit, elegiac beauty, profound insights intimate and cultural, and the sustaining power of remembrance.