June 7, 2012

Natasha Trethewey is the new Poet Laureate

Today, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Natasha Trethewey as the 19th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. In a statement announcing the appointment, Dr. Billington said:
Natasha Trethewey is an outstanding poet/historian in the mold of Robert Penn Warren, our first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. 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.

Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. She received a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A in poetry from the University of Massachusetts.

She is the author of three collections of poetry: Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000) won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize (selected by Rita Dove). This was followed by Bellocq's Ophelia a (Graywolf, 2002), and Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), for which she was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.

Her fourth collection of poetry, Thrall, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September 2012. She is also the author of a book of creative non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Georgia, 2010).

During the 2005-2006 academic year she was Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and in 2009 she was the James Weldon Johnson Fellow in African American Studies at the Beinecke Library at Yale University. She is currently the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.

A guide that compiles online resources related to Natasha Trethewey's life and work has been made available online: Library of Congress Resource Guide on New U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey



  1. I just heard a Interview with her on NPRS Fresh Air.... She is inspiring
    It is a girt that she has…to turn such a tragic part of her life into art.

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