Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Natasha Trethewey returns to UMass Amherst

January 26, 2011

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1995 MFA graduate to read from recent works

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts Amherst alumna Natasha Trethewey, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, returns to her alma mater on Wednesday, Feb. 9 for a series of free lectures and readings from her recently published works and to share insights on writing poetry.

The public is invited to hear Trethewey from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

Her latest book, a historical memoir titled "Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf," explores the hurricane’s devastation on both the region and her family. "What we remember, how we remember, and how we understand our past," says Trethewey, "has a great meaning for our future."

Trethewey, who received her MFA in poetry from UMass Amherst in 1995, is a professor of English at Emory University, where she holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for "Native Guard," a collection of poems about the first black regiment to serve in the Union army during the Civil War.

She has taught at Auburn University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Duke University, where she was the 2005-06 Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies. In 2009-10, she was a James Weldon Johnson Fellow in African American Studies at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library. Trethewey has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000, she received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the UMass Amherst Alumni Association.

Trethewey’s visit coincides with Black History Month celebrations and is sponsored by several UMass Amherst offices and programs, including the Malcolm X Cultural Center, Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success, English department and the MFA Program for Poets and Writers. She is also sponsored by the Alumni Association’s Eleanor Bateman Alumni Scholar in Residence Program, which provides students with alumni role models that exemplify achievement of the university’s mission through professional accomplishments or public service. The program is one way in which the Alumni Association uses its resources to enhance the value of the student experience and maintain a lifelong relationship with alumni.

For more information, visit www.UMassAlumni.com or call 800/456-8627.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Alumni Association represents more than 220,000 alumni around the globe, and provides programs and services that enhance the student experience and add value to a UMass Amherst degree.

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