Natasha Trethewey’s “Elegy for the Native Guards”

In this Video Natasha Trethewey reads her poem Elegy for the Native Guards, however this is a great video because it takes you to the places she talks about in this poem. This way not only can you listen to the poem but you can also see and picture the places that she talks about and visits in Elegy for the Native Guards.


Read More and Blog More

There have been many blogs written about or by Natasha Tretheway as well as Native Guard, but this blog in particular stood out above the rest. The blog is titled, Read More/Blog More Poetry by Lu and was published in February of this year. It was very upbeat and I think advocated the book of poems very well. It even reached out to audiences that aren’t fans; people who think poetry is boring or hard to understand and explain that this book will open up your eyes to new horizons. Although Tretheway did not personally create this blog, Lu is a strong supporter and fan of her writings. She gives insight on how the poetry covers a sense of history, culture and family and talks about how the book is broken up in to three different sections. I think this blogger does a great job in showing why we are reading Native Guard in our class and why other audiences as well as the classroom should read it. My favorite part of the blog is the poem she puts at the end of her blog titled, “My Mother Dreams Another Country,” it is a great way to close and reflect on her work.

“My Mother Dreams Another Country”

Already the words are changing. She is changing
from colored to negro, black still years ahead.
This is 1966 – she is married to a white man -
and there are names for what grows inside her.
It is enough to worry about words like mongrel
and the infertility of mules and mulattoes 
while flipping through a book of baby names.
She has come home to wait out the long months,
her room unchanged since she’s been gone:
dolls winking down from every shelf — all of them
white. Every day she is flanked by the rituals of superstition,
and there is a name she will learn for this too:
maternal impression – the shape, like an unknown
country, marking the back of the newborn’s thigh.
For now, women tell her to clear her head, to steady her hands
or she’ll gray a lock of the child’s hair wherever
she worries her own, imprint somewhere on the outline
of a thing she craves too much. They tell her
to stanch her cravings by eating dirt. All spring
she has sat on her hands, her fingers numb. For a while
each day, she can’t feel anything she touches: the arbor
out back — the landscape’s green tangle; the molehill
of her own swelling. Here — outside the city limits –
cars speed by, clouds of red dust in their wake.
She breathes it in — Mississippi — then drifts towards sleep,
thinking of someplace she’s never been. Late,
Mississippi is a dark backdrop bearing down
on the windows of her room. On the TV in the corner,
the station signs off, broadcasting its nightly salutation:
the waving Stars and Stripes, our national anthem.

Natasha Tretheway

Trethewey’s Response to a Work of Art

This video shows Natasha Trethewey’s response to certain works of art. Through reading her poems, we can see the connections that she has made. It’s important to try and understand Trethewey’s thought process in order to connect on a deeper level with her. I think this is especially important, because in class we do “responsive” activities similar to this.  By watching Trethewey’s translations we can learn something new and improve our own responses/interpretations. Watch the video for the first 4 minutes and 30 seconds.