Natasha Trethewey, 46, is a creative writing and English professor at Atlanta’s Emory University and will also be the first person to serve as both a state and national laureate as Mississippi’s top poet.
In 2007, she won a Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems Native Guard and is the first Southern poet laureate since the initial laureate, Robert Penn Warren, in 1986. She is also one of the youngest United States laureates. Her next collection of poems, Thrall, will be published this year and examines her relationship with her father and the nature of memory within families.
Over the course of the position’s history, there have only been five female poet laureates. Trethewey is following in the footsteps of Baltimore’s Josephine Jacobsen, who helped found BrickHouse. Jacobsen was the one of the first women to hold the title of Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress, a post which later was renamed Poet Laureate of the U.S.