Monument: Book summary and reviews of Monument by Natasha Trethewey

Monument

Poems New and Selected

by Natasha Trethewey

Monument by Natasha Trethewey X
Monument by Natasha Trethewey
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Book Summary

"[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, 13th Librarian of Congress

Layering joy and urgent defiance - against physical and cultural erasure, against white supremacy whether intangible or graven in stone - Trethewey's work gives pedestal and witness to unsung icons. Monument, Trethewey's first retrospective, draws together verse that delineates the stories of working class African American women, a mixed-race prostitute, one of the first black Civil War regiments, mestizo and mulatto figures in Casta paintings, Gulf coast victims of Katrina. Through the collection, inlaid and inextricable, winds the poet's own family history of trauma and loss, resilience and love.

In this setting, each section, each poem drawn from an "opus of classics both elegant and necessary,*" weaves and interlocks with those that come before and those that follow. As a whole, Monument casts new light on the trauma of our national wounds, our shared history. This is a poet's remarkable labor to source evidence, persistence, and strength from the past in order to change the very foundation of the vocabulary we use to speak about race, gender, and our collective future. (*Academy of American Poets' chancellor Marilyn Nelson)

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Trethewey's arresting images, urgent tone, and surgically precise language meld with exacting use of rhyme and anaphora create an intensity that propels the poems forward. This collection is ideal for new readers seeking a representative sample of Trethewey's best work." - Publishers Weekly

"Trethewey's great theme is memory, and in particular the way private recollection and public history sometimes intersect but more often diverge." - The New York Times

"Her work raises one's conscience with the truths inherent in simple word combinations ... and the care taken in ordering the pieces leads the reader from one poem to the next in graceful order." - Christian Science Monitor

"Trethewey's writing mines the cavernous isolation, brutality, and resilience of African American history, tracing its subterranean echoes to today." - New Yorker

"Her poetry reminds us to strive to use language in service of a thoughtful democracy." - Huffington Post

"The depth of her engagement in language marks her as a true poet." - Washington Post

This information about Monument was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Natasha Trethewey Author Biography

Photo: 2012 Nancy Crampton

Natasha Trethewey is a former US poet laureate and the author of five collections of poetry, as well as a book of creative nonfiction. She is currently the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. In 2007 she won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection Native Guard.

Name Pronunciation
Natasha Trethewey: TREH-thoo-wee

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