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Natasha Trethewey

Author of Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir

14+ Works 1,838 Members 68 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Natasha Trethewey was the Poet Jaureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, 2012-14. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Thrall, Domestic Work, Bellocq's Ophelia, and Native Cuard, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of show more English and Creative Writing at Emory University. show less
Image credit: Courtesy of the Pulitzer Prizes.

Works by Natasha Trethewey

Associated Works

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story (2021) — Contributor — 1,411 copies
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race (2016) — Contributor — 837 copies
The Best American Poetry 2000 (2000) — Contributor — 213 copies
The Art of Losing (2010) — Contributor — 197 copies
The Best American Poetry 2003 (2003) — Contributor — 174 copies
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song (2020) — Contributor — 169 copies
The Best American Poetry 2008 (2008) — Contributor — 135 copies
The Best American Poetry 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 133 copies
The 100 Best African American Poems (2010) — Contributor — 96 copies
Tenderheaded: A Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories (2001) — Contributor — 91 copies
Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006) — Contributor — 86 copies
The Best American Poetry 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 85 copies
The Best American Poetry 2012 (2012) — Contributor — 82 copies
The Best American Poetry 2018 (2018) — Contributor — 75 copies
Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series (2015) — Contributor — 72 copies
The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (2012) — Contributor — 63 copies
The Best American Poetry 2019 (2019) — Contributor — 56 copies
Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin (2016) — Contributor — 54 copies
The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007) — Contributor — 33 copies


Common Knowledge



A captivating, beautifully rendered, harrowing memoir.
decaturmamaof2 | 29 other reviews | Nov 22, 2023 |
Poignant, sad, difficult to read, and hard to put down. This is the story of the author who at the age of 19 had her life forever changed.

Sadly, her previous stepfather followed through with his threat and cold-bloodedly put a bullet through Natalie's mother's forehead.
At first a journey into Civil Rights, then when Natasha's mother is murdered, she takes an in-depth look at her mother's life and the way in which choosing the wrong person changed their lives forever.

At Memorial Drive in 1985, Natasha lost her mother at the hands of a man who had a mission to kill. The way in which he spoke to Natasha when her mother was not home was creepy and chilling. He promised to kill, sadly it wasn't taken seriously.

This is a small book that literally packs a punch.

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Whisper1 | 29 other reviews | Aug 6, 2023 |
A memoir, written primarily to come to terms, long after the fact, with Trethewey's mother's murder. In June of 1985, after escaping an abusive marriage, and surviving at least one subsequent attempt on her life, Gwendolyn Turnbough Trethewey Grimmette was shot to death by her ex-husband, who had been jailed briefly after that prior assault. In the days immediately preceding the shooting, he had made repeated blatant threats to kill Gwen, his step-daughter Natasha, and even his own 11-year-old son, if she did not "give him another chance".

At first I found it difficult to engage with Trethewey's story, because she seemed so distant from it herself in the writing. But as more details slowly unfolded, it became a heart-wrenching exploration of buried memories, unexpected discoveries, and survivor's guilt. I picked it up this afternoon some twenty pages short of the half-way point, and could not stop. The book leaves a lot of questions unanswered for the reader, but was well worth reading.
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laytonwoman3rd | 29 other reviews | Apr 26, 2023 |
A couple of poems in Natasha Trethewey’s poetry collection Monument led me to finally read this memoir, and I finished it in one day. The word for the book is enthralling.

Natasha’s stepfather murdered her mother when Natasha was 19, and away at college. This is the story of her childhood up to and including that event. It took Trethewey three decades to be able to look back and reflect on what went on.

Her story almost seems a gruesome fairy tale. She is the child of a black mother from New Orleans and a white father from Canada, who met as college students working in the 1960s civil rights movement. Her early years in Mississippi were happy, although once the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in the front yard. But her parents’ marriage did not survive, and mother and daughter moved to Atlanta, where her mother met and married the evil stepfather. Who eventually murdered her.

The most fascinating aspect of the book for me is the interplay of remembering and forgetting after trauma; why and what we choose to forget, and what we are unable to forget. So much of the past is lost to us. Remembering the past is like striking a match: scenes flare up, brightly lit for a moment before they fade away. The book is a succession of such moments, some gentle, some horrendous.

And the nagging question: did this really happen to me? Toward the middle of the book, Trethewey includes police reports and other documentation, as if to convince herself of the extent of the tragedy. Here’s the proof, she seems to be saying. You don’t have to believe just me.

This is a masterly exploration of the effects of profound trauma. The good news is that through her poetry and her work, Natasha Trethewey survived it, and even thrived.
… (more)
deckla | 29 other reviews | Jan 8, 2023 |



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