Beyond Katrina.

Position:Book review

Natasha Trethewey (author); BEYOND KATRINA; The University of Georgia Press (Literary Collections, Literary Collections) $22.95 ISBN: 9780820333816

aThis is a love letter to the Gulf Coast,a Natasha Trethewey writes in aLiturgy,a one of the many excellent poems interspersed through the prose of Beyond Katrina, aa praise, a song, a dirge, invocation and benediction, a requiem for the Gulf Coast.a In her book, Trethewey tells the story of Gulfport, the second largest city in Mississippi, weaving together history, local lore, and personal tragedy to create a book that is equal parts lament and exultation for the people and places of her home.

Early in Beyond Katrina, Trethewey recounts an exchange with her grandmother who, in the days after Katrina, confused the new hurricane with Hurricane Camille. aBetween the two,a Trethewey writes, athere is the suggestion of both a narrative and a metanarrativeathe way she both remembers and forgets, the erasures, and how intricately intertwined memory and forgetting always are.a Chapter by chapter, Tretheway dispels the common Katrina narrative, replacing it with the story she, as a resident of the Gulf Coast, knows. She tells of the off-shore gambling industry that had begun to provide jobs, money, and stability for the residents before the hurricane hit. She recounts the missteps of a baffling relief effort that abandoned those who needed help the most, and tells of houses where the chalk numbers counting the dead...

To continue reading