W. Ralph Eubanks discusses Trethewey’s ‘Beyond Katrina’

W. Ralph Eubanks is an author from Mississippi and on the 5 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina he interviews with Terry Gross. They discuss Natasha Trethewey’s journey regarding Hurricane Katrina because it was such a major event in her life and her book of poetry, ‘Beyond Katrina.’ The interview can be heard here.

Natasha Trethewey Talks Race

Natasha Trethewey is a child of a black mother and a white father and she is proud of it. In this interview Trethewey talks about her father’s illegal courtship of her mother.She also talks about growing up in a segregated south with mixed parents.

Natasha Trethewey mentions the fact that her father is white in her poetry, specifically in Southern Pastoral.

It was illegal in the south for couples of mixed race to be married, these were called anti-miscegenation laws. Miscegenation is also the name of another Trethewey poem. Many of Trethewey’s poems have references to her real life experiences. Race was a big social issue in the south when Trethewey was growing up so it makes sense. The reason Trethewey’s poems come across as full of emotion is because they really are. Natasha Trethewey does a really good job expressing her thoughts. I would recommend checking out any of the linked poems, as well as seeing Natasha’s opinion in her interview.


Natasha Trethewey – Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

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.