Natasha Trethewey Appointed 19th Poet Laureate

Posted on June 9, 2012

Natasha TretheweyLibrarian of Congress James H. Billington has announced the appointment of Natasha Trethewey as the Library's Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2012-2013. She will take up her duties this fall. She will open the Library's annual literary season with a reading of her work on Thursday, September 13 in the Coolidge Auditorium. Trethewey succeeds Philip Levine as Poet Laureate.

Billington says, "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."

Natasha Trethewey is the author of three poetry collections, including Native Guard, (2006), winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; Bellocq's Ophelia (2002); and Domestic Work (2000). Her newest collection of poems, Thrall, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012. She is the author of a nonfiction book, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2010).

An English and creative writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Trethewey will reside in the Washington, D.C., area from January through May of 2013 and work in the Poets Room of the Poetry and Literature Center. This is the first time the Poet Laureate has done so since the inception of the position in 1986.

Trethewey also serves as Poet Laureate of Mississippi. She was named to the position in January for a four-year term and will continue in the position while serving as U.S. Poet Laureate.

Photo: © 2012 Nancy Crampton