Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Trethewey's Ophelia

Tender like new fallen snow at midnight, the imagined life of Natasha Trethewey’s Ophelia melts upon the lips like Godiva chocolates. Bellocq’s Ophelia, published in 2002, is a collection of poems inspired by the eloquent black and white images of a “white-skinned black” prostitute photographed in the early 1900’s by E. J. Bellocq, and collected in the book, Storyville Portraits. I am fascinated with Trethewey’s use of poetry to tell a story, so compelling, and so lovely. Ophelia, at first, seems delicate and easily broken, but as verse flows, so does Ophelia, heroically transforming into womanhood, into photographer, and into survival. She sees in the world what the camera captures in us all; our thoughts, our secrets, our passions, and our sorrows. Through Trethewey’s words, Ophelia is made beautiful once again permeating the quiet determination of her song. A New Orleans backdrop drew me to this collection; the soft, sensual undertones of unspoken occultism, the subtle resonance of wash board jazz, and the intense images of sepia photographs which this work induces has earned it’s place on my nightstand.

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At 1:04 PM , Blogger BLUE said...

wow ... you are really moving swiftly into the world of strong criticism. i think i really love the way your analysis is almost poetic. have you sent this blog entry to Natasha. i'm sure she would love to hear it. lemme know if you need the email address. light! ~blue

At 9:32 PM , Blogger Tayari said...

Thanks so much for the kind words! I am not quite plugged into the blogosphere, but Tayari showed me this post. Thanks again for the generous read of Ophelia.

Let me just say, it meant a lot for me to find this on today of all days. Really.



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