Illuminations: UCI Reading Group: Natasha Trethewey’s poems, Thrall

February 7, 2019

February 7, 2019

6:00 pm To 7:00 pm

1888 Center, 115 North Orange Street, Orange, California 92866, USA


(949) 824-5112

Event Description

Illuminations: UCI Reading Group is a collaboration between the University of California, Irvine and 1888. The reading group meets to marvel at the inner-workings of fiction and poetry. Everyone is welcome: No previous experience or training required. Although it’s great if you’ve read the book beforehand, it’s not required, because we’ll always begin by reading a passage aloud together. We’ll then work through some of the writing’s mechanical elements—sometimes called “craft”—to get a better sense of what makes the story speak to us. Hosted by Sam Richardson and Sunny Nagra.

Reading Group is led by writers from the MFA Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine. The discussions coincide with the UCI Illuminations Authors Series, giving participants a chance to familiarize themselves with the work of visiting writers at UCI.

Sam Richardson is a poet of the Osage Nation from Baltimore, Maryland. She is a current MFA candidate in the Programs in Writing at UC Irvine, and also teaches poetry to youth on the Osage reservation in Oklahoma. Her writing is foremost an offering to her people.

Sunny Nagra is a poet. Raised throughout Southern California, he currently attends the MFA program at UCI for Creative Writing. His writing has appeared in Best American Experimental Writing Anthology (BAX) 2015.

With your RSVP, receive a 10% discount at the 1888 Bookshop on the day of the event. Illuminations links programming in arts & culture to undergraduate academic and cocurricular experience & fosters arts partnerships with UCI and community. PLEASE NOTE MS. TRETHEWEY IS NOT SCHEDULED TO ATTEND. PLEASE SEE FEB. 28 EVENT.


Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-14). In his citation, Librarian of Congress James Billington wrote, “Her poems dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face.” Her most recent collection, Thrall (2012), explores the complications of Trethewey’s own interracial roots.

In her poems, Natasha Trethewey captures ancestral memory like vintage photographs kept in a shoebox beneath her bed, pulled out and examined one by one. She reads into lined faces and distracted gazes all the hopes and desires extinguished by incessant labor; dreams too large to contain but too risky to say aloud.


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