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166 Mississippi Quarterly The way in which the volume situates Faulkner and Foote in—even surrounds them with—such groundbreaking film scholarship productively skews more conventional accounts of these writers—of Faulkner particularly, I’d hazard. This volume has the potential to help us think anew (again) of these Southerners as we read about them side by side with Gish on Griffith, with essays on film violence, film voices (which encouraged me to return to Stephen Ross’s Fiction’s Inexhaustible Voice: Speech and Writing in Faulkner) and so forth. Kawin’s volume has the (no doubt unexpected) effect of asking us to expand the field of “Southern literature,” especially on the back of the cinematic turn that Southern studies has taken in recent years, exemplified by Deborah Barker and Kathryn McKee’s 2011 collection, AmericanCinemaandtheSouthernImaginary.Inparticular,thosewho, like me, continue in this direction would do well to heed Kawin’s plea to “get it right,” to “stand up for accuracy.” I can think of no better model in this pursuit than his Selected Film Essays and Interviews. University of Sydney Sarah Gleeson-White Conversations with Natasha Trethewey. Ed. Joan Wylie Hall. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2013. 256 pp. $25.00 paper, $65.00 cloth. NATASHA TRETHEWEY PROVES AN APPROPRIATE SUBJECT FOR THIS LATEST addition to the valuable series of collected interviews published by the University Press of Mississippi. Appearing for more than two decades now, these conversations and interviews include overtwohundredtitles ranging from Rudolfo Anaya to Zhang Yimou. For the most part, their subjects are newer writers, especially from the South, but national and international figures in literature and in many other arts are represented. The diversity of the series is notable, with its impressive representation of women and minority writers, artists, and filmmakers. All of the collections in this series are edited by academics knowledgeable about their fields and in their subjects, so these volumes all include thorough introductions, chronologies, and indexes that make the interviews more accessible and useful. Born in 1966 in Gulfport, Mississippi, Trethewey is now known nationally as America’s Poet Laureate. The writer has a bi-racial heritage 167 Book Reviews as the daughter of a black mother, who was a social worker, and a white father, who is a professor and a poet. The tragic death of Trethewey’s mother at the hands of her second husband in 1985 proved both traumatic and pivotal in the poet’s life and in her work when she turned to art to create meaning from her family’s poignant history. Her first collection, Domestic Work, was published in 2000, and it was followed by Bellocq’s Ophelia in 2002 and Native Guard in 2006, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2007. In 2010, Trethewey’s Beyond Katrina employed mixed genres to trace the effects of that disaster on the Gulf Coast. Her fourth and best book of poetry, Thrall, appeared in 2012, the year of her appointment to the poet laureateship. This signal honor was renewed for an untypical second term featuring a series of appearances on National Public Television. The recent arrival and rapid acceptance of Trethewey’s poetry on the contemporary literary scene has meant that criticism has yet to catch up with her achievements. Only a limited number of reviews and a handful of critical essays have appeared before Joan Wylie Hall’s substantial edition of these eighteen interviews done between 1996and2011.As the first full volume devoted to the poet, Conversations with Natasha Trethewey will perform important introductory functions in terms of her personal life and professional accomplishment. The most important material here is found in the writer’s always thoughtful responses to her interviewers, as Trethewey proves a very knowledgeable and articulate subject. Her range of intellectual interests and literary connections is impressive, and she obviously has thought long and hard about her life and about her work, especially in its dialogue with that of other writers. Also, she takes her public statements and positions very seriously. One interviewer represented in this collection told me that Trethewey asked for more time to rethink some of her remarks about race and history before publication. As would be...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2689-517X
Print ISSN
0026-637X
Pages
pp. 166-169
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-27
Open Access
No
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