Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
A radio interview I heard with the newest U.S. Poet Laureate caught my attention so I approached this slim book eagerly even though I am not a regular reader of poetry. In spite of my inexperience Natasha Trethewey’s poems often moved and in some cases captivated me. Many of the early poems in the book explore the historical contexts of Trethewey’s mixed race heritage by detailed and nuanced examinations of colonial era paintings with multi-race families, paintings that were designed to illustrate terms like mestizo, quadroon and mulatto. These paintings in themselves are fascinating. One is on the cover, but I assume it would be prohibitively expensive to include the rest in the book. They can be found through online searches and making that effort really enhances the reading.
The three poems that made me catch my breath and mark the pages so I can read them again and again are almost at the end of the book. Beautifully written and rich with layers of meaning, the poems Calling, Vespertina Cognito, and Illumination connect outer images, like water’s bright ceiling as seen from the bottom of a pool, pelicans gliding across the sky, and starred passages on a page of text, with internal experiences, like rebirth, dark thoughts crossing the mind, and the quest to uncover elusive meaning.