Natasha Tretheway: 2013 Elizabeth Drew Lecturer

Posted February 5, 2013

We are honored to announce that Nineteenth United States Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway will share her poetry with the Bread Loaf community this summer as the 2013 Elizabeth Drew Lecturer. Tretheway's poetry explores the historical, philosophical, social, and personal aspects of her own mixed-race heritage, investigates southern American history, and examines the strength we find in our private hopes.

In his citation upon Tretheway's naming as the 2012-2013 Poet Laureate, Librarian of Congress James Billington wrote, "Her poems dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face." She is the author of Thrall (2012), Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association, Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000) and Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press).

Trethewey is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry.  At Emory University she is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing. In addition to being United States Poet Laureate, she is the State Poet Laureate of Mississippi, from 2012-2016.

"Trethewey’s writing mines the cavernous isolation, brutality, and resilience of African American history, tracing its subterranean echoes to today." — Rebecca Foresman in The New Yorker

Read the full New Yorker article here.
View an interview on PBS News Hour here.

Photograph by Matt Valentine