Natasha Trethewey Presents Final Lecture as U.S. Poet Laureate

Posted on May 18, 2014

Natasha TretheweyNatasha Trethewey has delivered her final lecture as U.S. Poet Laureate. She reflected on the state of poetry based on her experiences during her tenure at the Library of Congress on May 14th. A new poet laureate is expected to be announced next month. Trethewey was first appointed U.S. Poet Laureate in 2012 and was appointed to a second term in 2013.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement, "Natasha Trethewey's final lecture as Poet Laureate marks the conclusion of a remarkable two terms. Throughout that time her commitment and her enthusiasm have elevated the position, and the art."

During her tenure, Trethewey presented a series of on-location reports with the PBS NewsHour called Where Poetry Lives. The series has featured poetry programs and workshops with Alzheimer's patients in Brooklyn, N.Y.. It has also featured middle-school students in Detroit; medical students in Boston; and teenagers of the King County Youth Services Center in Seattle, Wash.

Trethewey has written four poetry collections: Thrall (2012), Native Guard (2006), Bellocq's Ophelia (2002) and Domestic Work (2000). She cut a memoir deal with HarperCollins last year.

The Washington Post has published a new interview with Natasha Trethewey here. In the interview, she reveals that her friends would call her PLOTUS. She also reveals what a great poem should do. She says, "Well, the easiest answer to that is that it should touch not only our intelligence, but also our heart. It should move us not just with its subject matter but also its musicality. For my own purposes, those are the hardest things to achieve."

Photo: Nancy Crampton

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