Thrall: Poems (Paperback)
Natasha Trethewey’s poems are at once deeply personal and historical—exploring her own interracial and complicated roots—and utterly American, connecting them to ours. The daughter of a black mother and white father, a student of history and of the Deep South, she is inspired by everything from colonial paintings of mulattos and mestizos to the stories of people forgotten by history.
Meditations on captivity, knowledge, and inheritance permeate Thrall, as she reflects on a series of small estrangements from her poet father and comes to an understanding of how, as father and daughter, they are part of the ongoing history of race in America.
Thrall confirms not only that Natasha Trethewey is one of our most gifted and necessary poets but that she is also one of our most brilliant and fearless.
NATASHA TRETHEWEY, two-term U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, and 2017 Heinz Award recipient, has written five collections of poetry and one book of nonfiction. An American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow, she is currently Board of Trustees professor of English at Northwestern University. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Nominated for NAACP Image Award Los Angeles Time Holiday Books Guide, Poetry Goodreads Choice Awards 2012 Finalist, Best Poetry Finalist, 2013 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book Award Finalist, 2013 Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist, 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award, Poetry "In poems that again exhibit her gift for finding in microcosmic form the specter of societal relations, Trethewey makes explicit historically ignored ideas that underlie (a very literal) enlightenment."—Booklist "Thrall's poems draw on Mexico's casta aintings, which were created to catalog the mixed-blood peoples living there under colonial Spanice rule...on a subject ripe with the perfidies and paradoxes of thralldom both personal and public, it is utterly elegant." —Elle Magazine “[Trethewey’s poems] dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face.” —James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress “Natasha Trethewey’s Thrall is simply the finest work of her already distinguished career. This remarkable collection carries the reader from troubling ekphrastic reflections upon colonial depictions of mixed race—meditations of superbly nuanced cultural and historical resonance—to a stunningly personal album of self-portraits of the poet with her father. Rarely has any poetic intersection of cultural and personal histories felt more inevitable, more painful, or profound.” —David St. John “In poems of exquisite tact and clarity, Natasha Trethewey confronts the excruciating differentials of racial mapping and the will-to-knowledge such mapping represents. Through the serial shocks of historical and personal discovery, through meticulous inventories of human division and turnings-aside, above all through “the dark amendment” of acknowledged bonds—the “Thrall” of her title—these poems probe the very foundations of reciprocal understanding.” —Linda Gregerson —