Creative Writing Program
Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing
Office: N209 Callaway Center. Fall 2016 office hours: By appointment
Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). She was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000), Bellocq's Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), for which she was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, and Thrall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 2012.) A chapbook, Congregation, was published in 2014 by the William Meredith Foundation/Dryad Press. She is also the author of a book of creative non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press, 2010).
Her first poetry collection, Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000), won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize (selected by Rita Dove), a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her second collection, Bellocq's Ophelia, 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 work has appeared in several volumes of Best American Poetry, and in journals such as Agni, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and The Southern Review, among others.
She received a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts During the 2005-2006 academic year she was Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and in 2009 she was the James Weldon Johnson Fellow in African American Studies at the Beinecke Library at Yale University.
Trethewey is also the recipient of the 2008 Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts and was named the 2008 Georgia Woman of the Year. In 2009 she was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and in 2011 was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the state of Mississippi and the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States. In 2013, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Natasha Trethewey was featured in a special Inauguration Day edition of National Public Radio's "Fresh Air." Trethewey, who attended the inauguration, talks with host Terri Gross about the significance of the day for the country's -- and her own -- racial history, and reads "My Mother Dreams Another Country" from her Pulitzer-Prize winning collection, Native Guard, and recites Langston Hughes' powerful verse, "I, Too, Sing America.
To schedule a reading or visit by Natasha Trethewey, please contact Blue Flower Arts, www.blueflowerarts.com
Watch two videos of Natasha Trethewey reading her poetry
Native Guard Giftset with CD
Conversations with Natasha Trethewey
Beyond Katrina (10th Anniversary Edition)
Limen All day I've listened to the industry
of a single woodpecker, worrying the catalpa tree
just outside my window. Hard at his task,
his body is a hinge, a door knocker
to the cluttered house of memory in which
I can almost see my mother's face.
She is there, again, beyond the tree,
its slender pods and heart-shaped leaves,
hanging wet sheets on the line -- each one
a thin white screen between us. So insistent
is this woodpecker, I'm sure
he must be looking for something else -- not simply
the beetles and grubs inside, but some other gift
the tree might hold. All day he's been at work,
tireless, making the green hearts flutter.