Reflection of Natasha Trethewey’s “Why I Write”

Natasha Trethewey is a Poet. This is a reflection of a speech she gave on why she writes. Natasha’s “Why I Write”

Natasha found great inspiration from Orwell’s “Why I Write”. She too has a shear joy for words that has been instilled within her since a child. After reading Orwell’s piece, she was challenged to discover her answer to this very question.

Natasha said, “Poetry exists to open our heats.” It challenges us to question the meaning of humanity. She said she writes because she cares for the people in this world (more than words) and she simply can not keep her mouth shut regarding actions of injustice.   As a child, her father told her that she must become a writer. He said that she had a story to be told. As a young girl she never fully understood what story he was talking about. But with age she discovered the inequalities she experienced being a bi-racial women growing up in Mississippi: the crosses burned in her front yard, the hats her grandmother was not allowed to try on because they were for white ladies, the poor segregated neighborhoods with grocery stores containing higher prices. Orwell defined political purpose as, “a desire to push the world into a certain direction.” She decided she had a political purpose to tell the stories of people who have been under appreciated in America’s past.

Many of Natasha’s poems promote social justice. Just as Orwell described poets are advocates who defend what they believe, this is where Natasha’s inspiration is derived. She  does not intend for her poems to address race but  there are undertones because of her background experiences and geography, which she explains as fate. She write’s from her heart, voices her beliefs – all based on experiences of her past. This is why she writes. Orwell motivated Natasha to answer the question, why I write, herself; MLK describes her answer, “no lie can forever live.”

Do you find yourself writing based on experiences of your past? Does this involve any type of change you’re advocating for? If not, please explain to me where your inspiration from writing comes from!

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