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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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OUR NATIONAL TREAUSRE


NATASHA TRETHEWEY



Domestic Work, 1937

 

All week she's cleaned
someone else's house,
stared down her own face
in the shine of copper--
bottomed pots, polished
wood, toilets she'd pull
the lid to--that look saying

Let's make a change, girl.

But Sunday mornings are hers--
church clothes starched
and hanging, a record spinning
on the console, the whole house
dancing. She raises the shades,
washes the rooms in light,
buckets of water, Octagon soap.

Cleanliness is next to godliness ...

Windows and doors flung wide,
curtains two-stepping
forward and back, neck bones
bumping in the pot, a choir
of clothes clapping on the line.

Nearer my God to Thee ...

She beats time on the rugs,
blows dust from the broom
like dandelion spores, each one
a wish for something better.

 

                 —Natasha Trethewey


“Domestic Work, 1937,” [from Domestic Work and biographywith permission Gray Wolf Press, 1999, St. Paul, Minnesota] ©Natasha Trethewey, for sale at:

https://www.graywolfpress.org/news/natasha-trethewey-reappointed-poet-laureate-second-term


 



BIOGRAPHY

"Poet Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000), Bellocq's Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), for which she was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, and Thrall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 2012.) She is also the author of a book of creative non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press, 2010).
 

Her first poetry collection, Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000), won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize (selected by Rita Dove), a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her second collection, Bellocq's Ophelia, received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets' James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes, and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association.
 
Her work has appeared in several volumes of Best American Poetry, and in journals such as Agni, American Poetry ReviewCallalooGettysburg ReviewKenyon ReviewNew England Review, and the Southern Review, among others.
 
Trethewey is also the recipient of the 2008 Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and was named the 2008 Georgia Woman of the Year. In 2009 she was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and in 2011 was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the state of Mississippi and the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States.
"

"Natasha Trethewey," Steve Woodward noted from Graywolf Press, "has been appointed for a second term as our United States Poet Laureate.  Graywolf is offering a sale on two of her books including Domestic Work, in honor of her renewed position.