Center for Poetry intern Elizabeth Sauter says this about her choice this week:
“I chose this poem by Natasha Trethewey in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day on January 21. Majoring in political science due to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird has led me to have a renewed passion for advocating for better racial equality in American society. As we reflect on what Reverend King achieved this week, may we also reflect on how to better our country for all Americans.”
~ Natasha Trethewey
In 1965 my parents broke two laws of Mississippi;
they went to Ohio to marry, returned to Mississippi.
They crossed the river into Cincinnati, a city whose name
begins with a sound like sin, the sound of wrong—mis in Mississippi.
A year later they moved to Canada, followed a route the same
as slaves, the train slicing the white glaze of winter, leaving Mississippi.
Faulkner’s Joe Christmas was born in winter, like Jesus, given his name
for the day he was left at the orphanage, his race unknown in Mississippi.
My father was reading War and Peace when he gave me my name.
I was born near Easter, 1966, in Mississippi.
When I turned 33 my father said, It’s your Jesus year—you’re the same
age he was when he died. It was spring, the hills green in Mississippi.