Natasha Trethewey Named 19th US Poet Laureate
Natasha Trethewey is the first laureate from the South since Warren.
A Pulitzer Prize winner is the nation’s first poet laureate to hail from the South since the initial one â€” Robert Penn Warren â€” was named by the Library of Congress in 1986.
Natasha Trethewey, 46, an English and creative writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, will be named the 19th poet laureate Thursday. She is also Mississippi’s top poet and will be the first person to serve simultaneously as a state and U.S. laureate.
Trethewey won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her poetry book, “Native Guard.” They focused partly on history that was erased because it was never recorded. She wrote of the Louisiana Native Guard, a black Civil War regiment assigned to guard white Confederate soldiers held on Ship Island off Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.
The Confederate prisoners were later memorialized on the island, but not the black Union soldiers.
A stanza reads:
“Some names shall deck the page of history
“as it is written on stone. Some will not.”
Librarian of Congress James Billington, who chose Trethewey after hearing her read at the National Book Festival in Washington, said her work explores forgotten history and the many human tragedies of the Civil War.
“She’s taking us into history that was never written,” he told The Associated Press. “She takes the greatest human tragedy in American history â€” the Civil War, 650,000 people killed, the most destructive war of human life for a century â€” and she takes us inside without preaching.”
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0 thoughts on “Natasha Trethewey Named 19th US Poet Laureate”
Ahh–what a hottie!
Found this poem of hers:
by Natasha Trethewey
Here, she said, put this on your head.
She handed me a hat.
you ’bout as white as your dad,
and you gone stay like that.
Aunt Sugar rolled her nylons down
around each bony ankle,
and I rolled down my white knee socks
letting my thin legs dangle,
circling them just above water
and silver backs of minnows
flitting here then there between
the sun spots and the shadows.
This is how you hold the pole
to cast the line out straight.
Now put that worm on your hook,
throw it out and wait.
She sat spitting tobacco juice
into a coffee cup.
Hunkered down when she felt the bite,
jerked the pole straight up
reeling and tugging hard at the fish
that wriggled and tried to fight back.
A flounder, she said, and you can tell
’cause one of its sides is black.
The other is white, she said.
It landed with a thump.
I stood there watching that fish flip-flop,
switch sides with every jump.
That’s a great poem. Thanks for finding it. I hadn’t read that one.