by Natasha Trethewey
Natasha Trethewey is a former U.S. Poet Laureate and a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She earned her M.F.A. at UMass Amherst. Memorial Drive is her first book that is not poetry. This memoir was written because, in the author’s words, “to survive trauma, one must be able to tell a story about it.” Here she shares the harrowing tale of her mother’s murder by Trethewey’s stepfather in 1985 when the poet was 19. She reviews her black mother’s life and marriage to her white father, a marriage illegal in her mother’s home state of Mississippi. By the time Trethewey was six, the marriage had ended and an abusive future husband had moved in. Trethewey succeeds in telling a lyrical and courageous account of her own “hidden, covered over, nearly erased” past.