Natasha Trethewey: Ship Island, Mississippi

from “Elegy for the Native Guards”

All the grave markers, all the crude headstones—
water-lost. Now fish dart among their bones,
and we listen for what the waves intone.
Only the fort remains, near forty feet high,
round, unfinished, half open to the sky,
the elements—wind, rain—God’s deliberate eye.

About the Author

Natasha Trethewey

Prize winner, 2007

Natasha Trethewey is the author of the poetry collections Domestic WorkBellocq’s OpheliaNative Guard, and ThrallDomestic Workwon the 1999 Canem Prize for a first book by an African American poet. She also published the memoir Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Trethewey has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute. She was named the Poet Laureate of the state of Mississippi in 2012 and the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States. Native Guard was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

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