May ??, 2004
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Callaloo Workshop Faculty Member

Natasha Trethewey's Domestic Work

In this debut collection, Natasha Trethewey draws moving domestic portraits of families, past and present, caught in the act of earning a living and managing their households. Small moments taken from a labor-filled day reveal the equally hard emotional work of memory and forgetting, the extraordinary difficulty of trying to live with or without someone.

From sonnets and traditional ballads to free verses shot through with the syncopated attitude of blues, the poems in Domestic Work sing with a muscular luminosity. Here is a young poet in full possession of her craft, ready to testify. To which I say: Can we get an ŒAmen?" And: Let these voices be heard.
 — Rita Dove

Natasha Trethewey¹s Domestic Work depicts an arresting psychological landscape. Her mirrors sway light and shadow over sharp portraits of people in a world between worlds. Yet, their rituals and obsessions make them like us. Seemingly straightforward and plainly spoken, woven of what dares to sound everyday, these poignant narratives are deceptive as they throw an emotional cast and the reader is beckoned to a place like no other.
 — Yusef Komunyakaa

Natasha Trethewey's book puts women's work, and, in particular, black women's work, the hard unpretty background music of our survival, in its proper perspective. For all her meticulous control and subtle perception, this is a revolutionary book that cuts right through to the deepest places in the soul.
 — Toi Derricotte

 

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