Emory University English and creative writing professor Natasha Trethewey has been named the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate. A 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner for her book, Native Guard, about the black civil war regiment assigned to guard Confederate soldiers off Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, Trethewey will be the first poet laureate to reside in D.C. and work directly in the Library of Congress Poetry Room since the position was created in federal law.

At 46, Trethewey is one of the youngest poets ever to become U.S. Laureate. The Boston Globe has a wonderful, comprehensive profile on her life and career. An excerpt reads:

Natasha Trethewey began writing poems after a personal tragedy.

While Trethewey was a college freshman, her mother was killed by a stepfather Tretheway had long feared.

“I started writing poems as a response to that great loss, much the way that people responded, for example, after 9/11,” she told The Associated Press. “People who never had written poems or turned much to poetry turned to it at that moment because it seems like the only thing that can speak the unspeakable.”

Read the rest of the Globe piece here.

Watch Natasha Trethewey’s reading at last year’s Cave Canem conference below:

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