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Former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey reads the poem “Letter to Inmate #271847” from her 2018 collection, Monument, at the Stotesbury Mansion in 2019.

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Natasha Tretheway
Natasha Tretheway

Natasha Trethewey is a distinguished poet whose work explores the racial legacy of the United States. She served two years as U.S. Poet Laureate and won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2007.

Trethewey was born in Gulfport, MS, in 1966. Her father was a Canadian poet and college professor and her mother was an African American social worker; their marriage was illegal at the time under Mississippi law. She studied at the University of Georgia and Hollins University, and earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her debut collection Domestic Work (2000) examines black Southern experience. Her Pulitzer-winning collection Native Guard (2006) delves into her mother’s 1985 murder.

Trethewey has released six books of poetry, a work of creative nonfiction on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and a memoir. She served as Poet Laureate of Mississippi from 2012 to 2016 and U.S. Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014. She is a professor of English at Northwestern University.