Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey

About Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey (born April 26, 1966, in Gulfport, Mississippi) is an American poet and university professor. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2007 for her poetry collection Native Guard, and served as United States Poet Laureate in June 2012 and June 2013. The book Native Guard tells the story of a regiment of black men in the Union army, composed mainly of former slaves who enlisted. Natasha Trethewey was born on Confederate Memorial Day, 100 years after the end of the Civil War. The author explains that she could not have escaped learning about the Civil War and what it represented, and that this conflict had fascinated her since childhood.
She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of American Poets. Trethewey was born in Mississippi, the daughter of Canadian Eric Trethewey and African American Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough; the couple were originally from Ohio, but had to move to Mississippi since interracial marriages were illegal in their home state. The parents divorced when Natasha was six years old, and thirteen years later, her mother, Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough, was killed by her ex second husband shortly after the divorce.
Trethewey studied English literature at the University of Georgia, creative writing at Hollins University, and poetry at the University of Massachusetts. Between 2000 and 2018, she published six collections of poetry – including the epistolary novel Bellocq's Ophelia. On June 7, 2012, James Billington, director of the Library of Congress, named her the 19th poet laureate of the United States. He states, after hearing her poetry at the National Book Festival, that he was "immediately struck by the formal quality of her poetry, using a richness and variety of structures [...] she weaves her story with the narrative historical in a way that takes you deep into the human tragedy of it".
She is married to historian Brett Gadsden.

Browse all poems and texts published on Natasha Trethewey
I think the biggest thing that I have to do is to remind people that poetry is there for us to turn to not only to remind us that we're not alone - for example, if we are grieving the loss of someone - but also to help us celebrate our joys. That's why so many people I know who've gotten married will have a poem read at the wedding.

Natasha Trethewey Poems

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