In June of this year, Natasha Trethewey was named the nation’s nineteenth US Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress. Born in Gulfport, MI on April 26, 1966, Trethewey is among the youngest in this elite group and the first to represent the South since Robert Penn Warren received the honor in 1986. She is also Poet Laureate of Mississippi and in 2007 won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her 2006 collection Native Guard.
Inspired by her parents’ interracial marriage, family tragedy, history, and widespread suffering along the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina, Trethewey’s work is heavily laden with themes of mixed race, memory, human tragedies, forgotten history, and the racial legacy of America.
Currently a professor of English and creative writing at Emory University, in January 2013, Trethewey will be the first poet laureate to take up residence in Washington, D.C. where she will work in the Poets Room of the Libary’s Poetry and Literature Center. Trethewey succeeds US Poet Laureate Philip Levine and joins this elite circle of distinguished artists including Billy Collins, W. S. Merwin, Robert Pinsky, Rita Dove, Ted Kooser, and Kay Ryan to name a few. Ms. Trethewey will kick off her term this fall with a reading of her work on September 13th in the Coolidge Auditorium.