are pleased to announce the publication of CONGREGATION as the
2014 William Meredith Award for Poetry given to US Poet Laureate,
Natasha Trethewey. Individual copies can be purchased at this
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FROM THE FOREWORD:
The William Meredith Foundation is honored to present the 2014
award for poetry to Natasha Trethewey. Beyond the fact that both
poets served at the Library of Congress, the award recognizes
a shared aesthetic and level of achievement.
When Meredith was writing poems, his goal was that they be "useful,"
that they speak to audiences "In the heart's duress, on the
heart's behalf." For Meredith, poetry is essentially an act
of communication in the language of the human tribe, not an exercise
in intellectual posturing or exhibitionism. His work is accessible
and deceptively simple. He speaks to us with a moral authority
and finally, like Trethewey, feels impelled "to offer somebody/uncomprehending,
impudent thanks." Congregation is such a document, a "love
letter to the Gulf Coast, a praise song, a dirge, invocation and
benediction, a requiem for the Gulf Coast."
Here are the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Katrina,
speaking to her with the folk wisdom, and faith, of the survivor.
"Without faith, we is victims," one church marquee proclaims,
and another, with a different kind of eloquence, "God is
not/ the author of fear." A pilgrim, she returns to the Gulf
Coast and her people, but finds home to be "but a cradle
of the past." She cannot enter the church service, "standing
at the vestibule - neither in, nor out," and can only watch,
her face against the glass, attempting to face the things that
confront her. By the end of the cycle, however, she has earned
the Whitmanesque final line of the poems, "native daughter:
I am the Gulf Coast.".