April is National Poetry and Poetry Writing Month, and in celebration we want to recognize Natasha Trethewey. Trethewey is currently State Poet Laureate for Mississippi and U.S. Poet Laureate. She is in her second term for U.S. Poet Laureate, and has taken on a signature project, a PBS NewsHour Poetry Series. She is also teaming up with Jeffrey Brown for a series of on-location reports in cities across the United States.
Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi on April 26, 1966. Her father, Eric Trethewey, was a Canadian emigrant and a poet. Her mother, Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough, was a social worker in Mississippi. The two married illegally, as the anti-miscegenation laws were still in place. Her parents were later divorced when she was six.
Trethewey’s inspiration for her work is a combination of historical and personal. Native Guard is centered on Louisiana’s Native Guards, which was a Black Regiment in the Union Army composed of former slaves. In an interview with Trethewey from the New York Times she states, “My birthday is April 26th, Confederate Memorial Day…I was born 100 years to the day after that holiday was invented. I don’t think I could have escaped learning about the Civil War and what it represented.” Her more recent collection of poetry Thrall focuses on mixed-race families and on fathers’ relationships with their children.
Trethewey is the author of two more collections of poetry and one book of non-fiction.
Works by Natasha Trethewey at MLC:
Domestic Work -MS 811.6t799
Bellocq’s Ophelia -MS 811.6T799
Native Guard - MS 811.6T799
Beyond Katrina: a Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast –MS 363.34922 T799
Thrall - MS 811.6T799