This is the follow-up volume of poetry to Trethewey’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize–winning Native Guard and it clearly shows why she is the new Poet Laurette of the United States.
She beautifully blends her personal family history into the history of America, especially the deep south. She is an interracial child, when a black woman and white man marrying was not only dangerous but illegal in her parents home state. She uses her poetry to show the struggles of not only southern America but of many forgotten names and faces in history. Natasha Trethewey uses her knowledge of history and the faces in colonial paintings as inspiration. She meditates on captivity, knowledge, and inheritance throughout this work. As she reflects on a series of estrangements from her father she comes to an understand how they are part of the ongoing history of race in America.