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Natasha Trethewey, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet

"Trethewey is clearly a poet to savor." —Maxine Kumin

Natasha Trethewey is author of Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin 2006), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002) which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association, and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000). She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and The Best American Poetry 2000 and 2003. Currently, she is Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetryat Emory University.

Her first collection of poetry, Domestic Work (2000), was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. In her introduction to the book, Dove said, "Trethewey 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."

ABOUT NATIVE GUARD

Natasha Trethewey's muscular, luminous poems explore the complex memory of the American South history that belongs to all Americans. The sequence forming the spine of the collection follows the Native Guard, one of the first black regiments mustered into service in the Civil War. In Trethewey's hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi, a plaque honors Confederate POWs, but there is no memorial to these vanguard Union soldiers. Native Guard is both a pilgrimage and an elegy, as Trethewey skillfully employs a variety of poetic forms to create a lyrical monument to these forgotten voices. Interwoven are poems honoring Trethewey's mother and recalling her fraught childhoodher parents" interracial marriage was still illegal in 1966 Mississippi. Native Guard is a haunting, beguiling narrative, caught in the intersections of public and personal testament.

Photo: courtesy of Blue Flower Arts

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