Natasha Trethewey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and 1995 graduate of the MFA Program for Poets and Writers, has been named the U.S. poet laureate by the Library of Congress.
Trethewey is a professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta. She was born in Gulfport, Miss., and is the author of three poetry collections, including “Native Guard,” her collection about black Civil War soldiers who helped protect a fort on Ship Island a few miles off the Mississippi coast, that won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. She will be the 19thU.S. poet laureate, beginning her new duties in the fall. She is currently also serving a four-year term as the poet laureate of Mississippi.
Trethewey’s first poetry collection, “Domestic Work” (Graywolf Press, 2000), won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize, a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.
Her second collection, “Bellocq’s Ophelia” (Graywolf, 2002), received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes, and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association.
Her newest collection of poems, “Thrall,” will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt this year. She is the author of a nonfiction book, “Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast” (2010).
Trethewey has a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia and an M.A. in English and creative writing from Hollins University.
She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts.