Mississippi

Natasha Trethewey currently serves as the Mississippi Poet Laureate and is the former U.S. Poet Laureate. She is a professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University. While her latest book is Thrall, her third collection of poetry, Native Guard, received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.

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Poetry in Mississippi
Natasha Trethewey
Mississippi poet laureate

Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey, who has served as both the state poet laureate of Mississippi and the U.S. poet laureate, received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry...

poems

poem

My parents come from a place where all the houses stop
at one story

for the heat. Where every porch—front
and back—simmers in black screens that sieve

mosquitoes from our blood. Where everyone knows
there’s only one kind of tea:

served sweet. The first time my father

poem
1

    No, I don't know

the way to get there.
    Two empty suitcases sit in the corner,
if that's any kind of clue.

2

    This spring night,

everyone at the party
    younger than me
except for one man.
    We give each other the secret password.

3

    Tears? Of course, but also the
poem
Vicksburg, Mississippi


Here, the Mississippi carved
            its mud-dark path, a graveyard

for skeletons of sunken riverboats.
            Here, the river changed its course,

turning away from the city
            as one turns, forgetting, from the past—

the abandoned bluffs, land sloping up