Poet Natasha Trethewey presents her "Theories of Time and Space," April 9, 2005, around Gulfport, Mississippi. Trethewey is the author of Domestic Work (2000) and Bellocq's Ophelia (2002). Her upcoming Native Guard will be published in 2006.
Trethewey's poem "Elegy for the Native Guards" is also available on Southern Spaces.
"Theories of Time and Space" is part of the Poets in Place series, a Research Collaboration in the Humanities initiative funded through Emory University’s Presidential Woodruff Fund, in collaboration with series, a Research Collaboration in the Humanities initiative funded through Emory University’s Presidential Woodruff Fund, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost. Series producers are Natasha Trethewey and Allen Tullos.
Theories of Time and Space
You can get there from here, though
there’s no going home.
Everywhere you go will be somewhere
you’ve never been. Try this:
head south on Mississippi 49, one-
by-one mile markers ticking off
another minute of your life. Follow this
to its natural conclusion—dead end
at the coast, the pier at Gulfport where
riggings of shrimp boats are loose stitches
in a sky threatening rain. Cross over
the man-made beach, 26 miles of sand
dumped on the mangrove swamp—buried
terrain of the past. Bring only
what you must carry—tome of memory,
its random blank pages. On the dock
where you board the boat for Ship Island,
someone will take your picture:
the photograph—who you were—
will be waiting when you return.
Cover Image Attribution:West Side Pier, Gulfport, Mississippi, June 2, 2004. Photography by Flickr user jshyun. Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Trethewey, Natasha. "Hymning the Native Guard." Interview by Terry Gross. NPR: Fresh Air. July 16, 2007. (00:39:44).