I’m happy that Natasha Trethewey was named poet laureate this week, and have heard she may move from Georgia, where she’s been teaching at Emory University, to Washington, D.C., which would make her the first in this position to do so.
I loved her book Native Guard, which won a 2007 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. It links her memories of seeing old Civil War sites, some labeled, some not, with her view of their history. A long section focuses on one of the first black regiments. Her most recent book Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, combines poetry and prose, memory and attention to the present, the story of her brother and a broader political view. Domestic Work includes many poems about growing up in the South, including Hot Combs, Cameo, Family Portrait, Mythmaker, Saturday Matinee, and White Lies.
Here’s a post I wrote after hearing her speak at UMass-Amherst, where she earned an M.F.A. in poetry. You can read more and hear clips of the poet reading at Tara’s blog, A Teaching Life. And for more Poetry Friday celebrations, I hope you’ll visit Jama’s Alphabet Soup.