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Bellocq's Opheliaby Natasha Trethewey
Synopses & Reviews
In the early 1900s, E.J. Bellocq photographed prostitutes, which were first collected and published as Storyville Portraits. In Natasha Trethewey's stunning second collection, she creates the life of Ophelia in the image of one of Bellocq's subjects. Through Ophelia, a very white-skinned black woman living in a brothel, a sad and poignant story is told with beautiful precision and depth.
Selected as a "2003 Notable Book" by the American Library Association
In the early 1900s, E.J. Bellocq photographed prostitutes in the red-light district of New Orleans. His remarkable, candid photos inspired Natasha Trethewey to imagine the life of Ophelia, the subject of Bellocq's Ophelia, her stunning second collection of poems. With elegant precision, Ophelia tells of her life on display: her white father whose approval she earns by standing very still; the brothel Madame who tells her to act like a statue while the gentlemen callers choose; and finally the camera, which not only captures her body, but also offers a glimpse into her soul.
About the Author
Mississippi native Natasha Trethewey is the recipient of the Grolier Poetry Prize and a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have been widely published, and one of them appeared in The Best American Poetry 2000. Her first book, Domestic Work, was the first winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, selected by Rita Dove and published by Graywolf in 2000. Trethewey teaches creative writing at Emory Writing.
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