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Photograph of Natasha Trethewey, seated at a desk with hands clasped.
Natasha Tretheway. Jill Norton Photography

In 2012, Natasha Trethewey was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States and her home state of Mississippi. She served two terms as United States Poet Laureate. The child of an interracial marriage in the South, Trethewey often intersects personal experience with the racial landscape of the U.S. in her writing.

Her first collection of poems, Domestic Work (2000), explores the lives and jobs of Black working class people. Some of her poems are dedicated to family members, such as her grandmother and aunt, and others to the place she was born, Mississippi.

Photograph of cover of Domestic Work by Natasha Trethewey
Domestic Work by Natasha Trethewey (2000)

Trethewey was selected by Rita Dove as winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the first best book by an African American poet. In 2001, Domestic Work was also awarded the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.

Photograph of back cover of Domestic Work by Natasha Trethewey
Back cover of Domestic Work by Natasha Trethewey

The back of the book includes remarks by acclaimed writers. Here, Tori Derricotte writes “Natasha Trethewey’s book puts women’s work, and in particular, black women’s work, the hard unpretty background music of our survival, in its proper perspective. For all her meticulous control and subtle perception, this is a revolutionary that cuts right through to the deepest places in the soul.”

Special Collections has a first edition copy of Domestic Work.

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