The House of Being

Natasha Trethewey
Published in 2024
by Yale University Press

In The House of Being, part of the Why I Write series based on Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Lectures, former U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey revisits the places that informed her beginnings as a reader and a writer, reflecting on her childhood in Gulfport, Mississippi, as the daughter of a Black mother and a white father. Through these intimate essays, Trethewey looks back to the origins of her writing life and considers writing as reclamation. “My need to make meaning from the geography of my past is not unlike the ancients looking to the sky at the assortment of stars and drawing connections between them,” she writes. “I’ve needed to create the narrative of my life—its abiding metaphors—so that my story would not be determined for me.” Watch Trethewey’s 2022 Windham-Campbell Lecture in our Poets & Writers Theater. 

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