Natasha Trethewey Named Poet Laureate

On Thursday June 7, 2012, the Library of Congress named Mississippian and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey the nation’s 19th Poet Laureate. She follows Michigan poet Phillip Levine.

Trethewey is the first African American poet laureate in nearly two decades. The last was Rita Dove. She is also only the second southern poet in history to be named laureate.

Trethewey received the Pulitzer in 2007 for her third collection of poems, Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2006). The poems in Native Guard address the gross abuse of the African American Union soldiers of the Louisiana Native Guard as well as the death of her mother at the hand of her mother’s second husband. Read Coldfront’s review of Native Guard here.

Trethewey is also the author of the memoir Beyond Katrina (Sarah Mills Hodge Fund Publication 2010), in which she explores the devastating effects of the storm on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and its people.

–Melinda Wilson