Poet Matthew Zapruder has been appointed the new poetry column editor for The New York Times Magazine. Born in Washington, D.C., he lives in Oakland, where he is the director ... [ read more ]
C. D. Wright, American award-winning poet and writing professor at Brown University, unexpectedly passed away in her home on January 12, 2016. Her most recent book, Poet, the Lion, Talking Pictures, ... [ read more ]
Elizabeth Arnold, Smartish Pace Reading
Elizabeth Arnold reading for Smartish Pace at Artomatic in Washington, DC on June 12, 2009. Intro by Stephen Reichert of Smartish Pace.
February 16, 2012Interview conducted in August 2011
Beyond Katrina blends personal and collective memories of an event that is not too long gone from the public eye, and is still current for those living on the Gulf Coast. What are the challenges of writing about something topical, even if it has personal resonance for you the writer?Natasha Trethewey: I think the biggest challenge that I faced with writing Beyond Katrina and that particular topic was that, as you said, it is in many ways ongoing for the people who are there, and it is also a thing of contested memory. Contested memory is the hardest part of it, because I found that I was dealing with people who wanted not only to be remembered, but people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast who felt like their story was being forgotten or being subjugated beneath the other story of New Orleans and the levee break. But I was also dealing with narratives from folks who wanted to remember the aftermath in different ways, I think, for political purposes. And so there was often a narrative of Mississippi as ... [ read more ]
Chanting the names of friends long past, of landscapes and the living things that sustain them, Patricia Clark weaves a hypnotic web of verse that does exactly what Robert Frost declares poetry ought to do in the book's epigraph: "And what I would not part with I have kept." Frost's declaration is the footing stone, the foundation for Clark's love of the earth and how she records that love in painstaking detail -- flora and ... [ read more ]