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Bellocq's Ophelia: Poems by Natasha…
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Bellocq's Ophelia: Poems

by Natasha Trethewey

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Truthway, Natasha

Disarray the darkness,
ventilate the light.

The poet is there
only in her words.

Look at her eyes,
her glossy lips,
straight white teeth
her chosen do.
The photo, small
square black & white:
nonfiction : false

Bellocq’s Ophelia
on the cover
is elegance, innocence,
intimidation, distance:
pure fiction : truer

Born in Gulfport, Mississippi.
First book awarded
this and that.
Second one, a finalist
for this and that,
a 2003 Notable Book.
Third, a Pulitzer.
Teaches at Emory.


Why am I
so despondent?
What is she
to me?


Truthway’s Ophelia

But in her words
Ophelia lives:
livelier, lovelier,

in her letters, diary,
a photo, vignette,
her brothel
her dress, undressed

She lives,
livelier, lovelier,
herself.

Not.

Ophelia’s Bellocq

Papá, she calls him,
a quiet man.

What do you want?
a man asked her,
fully clothed.
I could not answer,
she says.
Could not.
Not.


Once she could have:
clean living,
a place with light


Bellocq talks to her,
she says,
of light, of shadows
She has splurged,
bought a Kodak:

crystals coalescing
like constellations of stars
on film


He lets her be herself,
everything else a prop,
that’s all.

This photograph
we make,

she says,
will bear . . .
his name, not mine.


Not. ( )
  bfrank | Aug 19, 2011 |
Haunting. Beautiful. Lyrical. Exquisite. ( )
  MoiraStirling | Sep 9, 2009 |
What can I say I like her poetry ( )
1 vote Dakoty | Mar 22, 2009 |
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