Pulitzer Prize-winner Natasha Trethewey, the nineteenth Poet Laureate of the United States, will deliver the annual Elizabeth Bishop Lecture and read from her work on Thursday, April 10 at 6 pm in the Sanders Classroom Building Spitzer Auditorium (room 212). Sponsored by the Department of English, this event is free and open to the public.
Appointed Poet Laureate in 2012, Trethewey’s work largely deals with her southern upbringing, mixed-raced parentage and the history of race relations. Upon announcing her appointment to the post, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, “Natasha Trethewey is an outstanding poet/historian in the mold of Robert Penn Warren, our first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. 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.”
Trethewey is the author of four collections of poetry: Domestic Work (2000); Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002); Native Guard (2006)—for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize—and, most recently, Thrall, (2012). Trethewey’s nonfiction book, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, appeared in 2010.
The Washington Post review called Thrall “a must-read collection. Thrall also demonstrates why this…writer is worthy of her recent appointment as poet laureate of the United States.”
Among her many honors, she is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.
About the Elizabeth Bishop Poetry Lecture Series
Each year Vassar College invites a distinguished poet to give the Elizabeth Bishop Lecture, an endowed reading / lecture that honors the Vassar alumna whose papers are housed in our Special Collections Library and whose hundredth anniversary was celebrated in 2011 with a major conference on Bishop's work. Bishop Lecturers have included Robert Pinsky, Seamus Heaney and, most recently, Nikky Finney. The Elizabeth Bishop Poetry Series is made possible through the gift of Priscilla H. Rockwell and H.P. Davis Rockwell.
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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.