Natasha Trethewey, Poet Laureate
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
121 Wall St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Poetry Reading: Natasha Trethewey
Poet Laureate of the U.S.
and former Beinecke Fellow
The current exhibition, By Hand, begins with one of the first manuscripts to enter into the Yale collections. It ends with a manuscript begun in the Beinecke Library reading room. "What is the soul? / And who are we / to each other / these images ask," writes Natasha Trethewey, in notes towards her poem, "The Miracle of the Black Leg."
Named United States Poet Laureate in 2012, Trethewey can be found, in these drafts and annotations, these penciled notes, engaged fearlessly with the demands of memory, the shifting nature of historical evidence, the claims of the past upon us, as writers and readers in the present.
"What is the soul, and who are we to each other," asks Trethewey. One possible reply was offered by Ezra Stiles, in 1793: "Perlegi hunc librum," or, "I did read this book." As readers of the Beinecke Library’s manuscript collections, we hold the surviving traces of those who have preceded us as we do each other, by hand.
In conjunction with the Beinecke Library's 50th anniversary celebration and the exhibition By Hand: Celebrating the Manuscript Collections