This past week, Natasha Trethewey was named poet laureate for the state of Mississippi. In making the announcement, Gov. Haley Barbour said, “She has received national and international acclaim for her poetry that is, often, a tribute to the state of Mississippi and, more specifically, the Mississippi Gulf Coast.” We had the good fortune to meet this Pulitzer Prize-winning poet awhile back when we worked with Men Stopping Violence on its annual awards gala. Ms. Tretheway had received The Kathleen Carlin Justice Seekers Award that evening and when she took the stage to accept the honor, she read one of her works to the audience of several hundred and the room practically lit a-fire. Here’s a poem from her first collection, Domestic Work.
circling them just above water
This is how you hold the pole
She sat spitting tobacco juice
reeling and tugging hard at the fish
The other side is white, she said.