Native Guard is a play written by Natasha Trethewey as poetry. Trethewey is a former U.S. poet laureate. She is also the winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
The play runs on two black life experiences: her own experience of her family in the 1960s while living in Mississippi and the experience of a soldier in the native guard, an African-American union unit in the civil war charged with guarding white Confederate soldiers.
The “second act” of this play is a participatory exercise by the audience in exploring how they play in its first act affected them. Here was the lesson I learned: that we are all burdened with preconceptions that must somehow be softened and bypassed. Poetry allows a different metaphorical framework allowing us to see that another point of view has validity. Such is the power, wonder, and beauty of art.