Atlanta’s Emory University faculty member Natasha Trethewey has been named the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate by the Library of Congress.
Trethewey, who will replace Philip Levine, is a Mississippi native and the first U.S. Laureate to come from the South. Her poems often focus on the region, with her Pulitzer Prize-winning work Native Guard even named after a regiment of African American soldiers from the Civil War. Trethewey also holds the same position in her home state.
“Her poems dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face,” Librarian of Congress James Billington said about her work.
Trethewey will take up full Laureate duties in the fall. You can watch a video of her reading from her latest work, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, below.