Natasha Trethewey named 19th U.S. poet laureate | Arts News

The Library of Congress recently named Natasha Tretheway the 19th U.S. poet laureate.

Currently working as an English and Creative Writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Trethewey, 46, is one of the youngest people to ever receive the prestigious distinction. Trethewey is the first black U.S. poet laureate since 1993 and presently sits as poet laureate of the state of Mississippi, making her the first person to serve as U.S. and state laureate at the same time.

There is no doubt that Trethewey is more than qualified. However, with her new post tying in with the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War and Trethewey’s Pulitzer Prize win for her book Native Guard, a collection of poems discussing the war and the members of its black regiment that were not memorialised with their counterparts, it makes you wonder whether this is simply coincidence or convenience?

James Billington, the Librarian of Congress who chose Trethewey after hearing her read, described it as a “happy coincidence,” but it’s often all too convenient to put a black face in a position where they are failing to reach the minorities. Not to mention the need for a younger spin on a position previously held by individuals in their 80’s. But hey, if it’s for the greater good and gets poetry into places it possibly wouldn’t reach, then it gets my full support.

Good luck Natasha!

[Source: NYT x BBC]