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Natasha Trethewey

Perhaps this is more for my own personal benefit than something that should be shared with the class, but I felt there were many things to learn from Natasha Trethewey’s visit. What stood out most obviously to me was her ability to read aloud. She reads with a practiced ease; of course, she’s done this before. But it’s more than that. When Trethewey read tonight she spoke with a patience that allowed the words to speak themselves instead of as if she had rushed them from the page to the microphone. Her tone was gentle and soft in a voice that could lull you to sleep quite smoothly, though I don’t think a single person was sleeping in the crowded theater. Every person was engaged with her words because, in part, of the way they were delivered. She managed to interject humor and lightness, though the muse was unexpected (stink bug reference, here), in a reading that otherwise could have been very dark. For that’s what the content of her poems was — dark. I don’t think she tripped over her words once, though what she said to us never seemed rehearsed or forced. Trethewey spoke with a natural grace and rhythm that flaunted her poetry. Having to read aloud for this class and many of the other workshops I’ve been in, I know that the delivery is just as important as the content. Natasha Trethewey delivered beautifully.

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