This collection, winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, opens with “Theories of Time and Space,” a poem that alerts the reader to the territory under artistic surveillance. It begins with the lines: “You can get there from here, though / there’s no going home. / Everywhere you go will be somewhere / you’ve never been.” Memory and family history are the heart and soul of the poems, which are alive with the national history of America’s primary internal struggle against itself, the Civil War. Natasha Trethewey’s poems thread reflections of the poet’s life into the thick broadcloth of southern experience. Themes of race, of identity and belonging, of regional differences within the United States, and of the impact of the Civil War on an individual’s family experience run through the book.