Synopses & Reviews
Beyond Katrina is poet Natasha Tretheweyandrsquo;s very personal profile of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and of the people there whose lives were forever changed by hurricane Katrina.
Trethewey spent her childhood in Gulfport, where much of her motherandrsquo;s extended family, including her younger brother, still lives. As she worked to understand the devastation that followed the hurricane, Trethewey found inspiration in Robert Penn Warrenandrsquo;s book Segregation: The Inner Conflict in the South, in which he spoke with southerners about race in the wake of the Brown decision, capturing an event of wide impact from multiple points of view. Weaving her own memories with the experiences of family, friends, and neighbors, Trethewey traces the erosion of local culture and the rising economic dependence on tourism and casinos. She chronicles decades of wetland development that exacerbated the destruction and portrays a Gulf Coast whose citizensandmdash;particularly African Americansandmdash;were on the margins of American life well before the storm hit. Most poignantly, Trethewey illustrates the destruction of the hurricane through the story of her brotherandrsquo;s efforts to recover what he lost and his subsequent incarceration.
Renowned for writing about the idea of home, Tretheweyandrsquo;s attempt to understand and document the damage to Gulfport started as a series of lectures at the University of Virginia that were subsequently published as essays in the Virginia Quarterly Review. For Beyond Katrina, Trethewey has expanded this work into a narrative that incorporates personal letters, poems, and photographs, offering a moving meditation on the love she holds for her childhood home.
A Sarah Mills Hodge Fund Publication.
andquot;Within this book's quiet thoughts lies a powerful story of things long gone that will never come back. What is lost can only be captured by memory. And Trethewey's prose captures memory with poetic precision.andquot; andmdash;W. Ralph Eubanks, All Things Considered
andquot;By looking at the vast devastation with sober and poetic eyes, Trethewey has written a hauntingly beautiful book.andquot;andmdash;Publishers Weekly (starred review)
andquot;Heartfelt, righteous, humane, Beyond Katrina richly deserves to become one of the indispensable Katrina books.andquot;andmdash;Mobile Press-Register
andquot;Beyond Katrina is more about the stormandrsquo;s sociological and psychological results for the Coast and its people, North Gulfport in particular, than its physical damage. But itandrsquo;s seldom about generalizations. . . . This is a powerful, sometimes painful, book that gets underneath comfortable memoriesandmdash;wherever the reader lives.andquot;andmdash;Biloxi and South Mississippi Sun Herald
andldquo;With Bellocqandrsquo;s Ophelia and Native Guard, Natasha Trethewey demonstrated an uncanny and urgent empathy for overlooked but crucial persons and events in the American past. Beyond Katrina extends that nuanced vision and compassion into multiple dimensions of the past, present, and future of this immeasurable national tragedy. It is a great interpretive pleasure and a significant emotional experience to follow her as she sifts the personal, historical, political, and geographic modes of experience to reveal what hurricane Katrina has meantandmdash;and can and must meanandmdash;for the Gulf Coast and the nation as a whole.andrdquo;andmdash;Anthony Walton, author of Mississippi: An American Journey
andquot;Beyond Katrina examines both the public and personal impact of the tragedy from the perspective of a writer uniquely qualified to undertake such a fraught and challenging project. She brings to the volume an insiderandrsquo;s knowledge and deep-felt affection for the place and its culture, but also an expatriateandrsquo;s sense of wary detachment. On a grander scale, the book is permeated with the sense that memory and the past can only exist as ruin. This book offers continuing evidence that Natasha Trethewey is one of our most indispensable poets, and tell us as well that she is a prose writer of the first order.andquot;andmdash;David Wojahn, author of Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982andndash;2004
andldquo;With a powerful sense of place and of her own biracial identity, [Tretheweyandrsquo;s] poetry refracts the stories, real and imagined, of solitary individuals of the American South that are also part of the composite story of the nationandmdash;a story that the United States and the South seem ready to hear. . . . Stories close the distances between us; stories become the means by which we at last see each other in the light of recognition. If this in fact is so, then the unfettered stories told by poets are the hope of democracy everywhere. Sacrifice, endurance, duty, work, loss, courage, hopeandmdash;these shimmer in Tretheweyandrsquo;s poetic imagination of remembrance and therein is their power to connect us.andrdquo;andmdash;Jamil Zainaldin, SaportaReport
About the Author
Natasha Trethewey is the Poet Laureate of the United States, 2012andndash;2013. She is the author of three collections of poetry: Domestic Work, Bellocqandrsquo;s Ophelia, and Native Guard, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She also holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University.
Table of Contents
Theories of Time and Space