Poet Natasha Trethewey at Washington College
Before she was named the 19th U.S. poet laureate, Natasha Trethewey was the featured speaker at Washington College’s 2011 Sophie Kerr Weekend.The annual event, which draws literature-loving community members, students, faculty, and prospective freshmen, highlights WC’s strong writing program with a weekend of readings, lectures, and workshops.
Trethewey’s reading included poems from her award-winning collections: Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin), a 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner, Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), one of the American Library Association’s Notable Books for 2003, and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000), her first collection and the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem Poetry Prize winner, an award given to the best first book by an African American poet.
Former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove in her introduction to Domestic Work said of Trethewey that she “eschews the Polaroid instant, choosing to render the unsuspecting yearnings and tremulous hopes that accompany our most private thoughts—reclaiming for us that interior life where the true self flourishes and to which we return, in solitary reverie, for strength.” Other poets have described her work as “nearly flawless,” and “a rare, beautiful gift to the reader.”
Trethewey’s poetry often revolves around the themes of family history and growing up biracial in the American South. Her fourth collection, Thrall (Houghton Mifflin) is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2012. She was named poet laureate of the United States in June 2012.