Natasha Trethewey is an American writer and two-time former US poet laureate. Trethewey will be reading from her most recent book, Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir, as well as from her collections of poetry. There will be a question-and-answer section following the reading. This special Authors Reading Virtually Event is co-sponsored by NMU’s Department of English, Beth Casady and Jim Cantrill, Rosa and John Diddams, Pat Micklow and Judd Spray, and Karlyn Rapport. The reading will be on Saturday, April 17, 2021, at 12 p.m., via Facebook Livestream.

In Her Words – The Works of Natasha Trethewey

Trethewey has established her footprint as one of American’s most important poets. She has written five poetry collections, including:

  • Monument(2018)
  • Thrall (2012)
  • Native Guard(2006)
  • Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002)
  • Domestic Work (2000)

She’s also written Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2010), a book of creative nonfiction. Her first book of poetry, Domestic Work, won the Cave Canem Prize. Her collection Native Guard won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

We are so excited to be a part of this amazing event. It is free and open to the public, but donations to the Women’s Center of Marquette are graciously accepted. Suggested donations: $15. To donate, follow this link:

In anticipation of this virtual event, PWPL will be hosting a book club discussion on Bellocq’s Ophelia on March 29 featuring Dr. Lynn Domina, head of the English Department at Northern Michigan University and hosted by our own Martin Achatz, all via zoom.


Five copies of Bellocq’s Ophelia are available at the reference desk for those interested in the book club. Additionally, Memorial Drive, Thrall, Domestic Work, and Native Guard are also available for check out, though you may need to put them on hold ahead of the event. Memorial Drive is available through our Libby app as a digital read or via audio, where Trethewey reads the memoir herself.

The Awards and Honors of Natasha Trethewey

Her work explores the deep connection between identity, place, and what it means to be someone who lives in the space of between. Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, and the daughter of a mixed-race marriage who was raised between Atlanta, Georgia, with her mother and New Orleans, Louisiana, with her father, her life as a mixed-race person in the south informs all of her work.

Trethewey’s many awards and fellowships include:

  • Guggenheim Foundation
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute as a Bunting fellow

She has held appointments at:

  • Duke University as Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies
  • Emory University as Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing
  • University of North Caroline-Chapel Hill
  • Yale University as the James Weldon Johnson Fellow in African American Studies at the Beinecke Library

Awarded the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts as well as named Georgia Woman of the Year for 2008, Trethewey has received numerous accolades. She is a recent inductee into both the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame and the Fellowship of Southern Writers, was the Poet Laureate of Mississippi from 2012-2016, and is currently the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University.

It is certainly an honor to have her read for us. Here are a few of her poems:

Find more of her poetry via the Poetry Foundation.

For viewing, consider the following:

Natasha Trethewey on PBS

Natasha Trethewey – Why I Write

Natasha Trethewey – Cave Canem

Natasha Trethewey – Lunch Poems

Natasha Trethewey – No Bones About It

Find out more details about these two happenings on our events calendar!


Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey

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