Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Great Regulars: Like [Seamus] Heaney, [Natasha] Trethewey writes with both

a landscape and a locality in mind--one that is in the present and in history at the same time. Though Heaney digs into the bog-scape of Gaelic lore and Ireland's modernity, Trethewey's poems dovetail with the antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction-era South. America's historic public black and white divide mirrors Trethewey's own private biography--a mixed-race Southerner born 100 years after the end of the Civil War with an African American mother and a white father.

Like Heaney, Trethewey maintains a studied distance between herself and her most essential subject--for Heaney, sectarian violence in Ireland; for Trethewey, racial discrimination in America.

from David Biespiel: The Oregonian: Poetry: Next poet laureate stands out with poise


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