Award winning poet, Natasha Trethewey, grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi, a coastal region that suffered very extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. While she personally no longer lives in the area, much of Trethewey’s family still resides in Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and has been recovering ever since the hurricane struck. Trethewey states that the region’s future can be directly associated to how its past is remembered; to reflect on her own personal memories of the Gulf Coast and how her family has entered the rebuilding process, Trethewey published a recent memoir, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Contained in the work are poems, letters, and photographs. She believes that, through her poems and writing, she has been able to make peace with Hurricane Katrina.
In “Liturgy,” a poem included in Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Trethewey describes some of the devastation from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:
“To the displaced, living in trailers along the coast, beside the highway, in vacant lots and open fields; to everyone who stayed on the coast, who came back – or cannot – to the coast;”
As can clearly be seen in “Liturgy” and throughout Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Trethewey still very deeply cares about her home state of Mississippi. Her roots and heart will forever be in the Mississippi Gulf Coast.