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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Current Poet Laureate: Natasha Trethewey
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Natasha TretheweyNatasha Trethewey, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2012-  Photo by Nancy Crampton

On June 10, 2013, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Natasha Trethewey to second term as the Library's Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2013-2014. Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi on April 26, 1966. She is the author of four poetry collections and a book of creative non-fiction. Her honors include the Pulitzer Prize and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012, she was appointed the State Poet Laureate of Mississippi. Learn more about Natasha Trethewey

Where Poetry LivesDuring her second term, the Laureate is participating in a series of reports with PBS NewsHour Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown, as part of the show's Poetry Series. These reports, in locations across the country, explore societal issues through poetry's focused lens.

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Trethewey, the 19th Poet Laureate, took up her duties in the fall of 2012, opening the Library's annual literary season with a reading of her work on Thursday, September 13 in the Coolidge Auditorium. Her first term coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Library's Poetry and Literature Center and the 1937 establishment of the Consultant-in-Poetry position, which was changed by a federal law in 1986 to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

Her second term will begin in September. She will follow previous multiyear laureates—such as Kay Ryan, Ted Kooser, and Billy Collins—and undertake a signature project: a regular feature on the PBS NewsHour Poetry Series. Trethewey will join NewsHour Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown for a series of on-location reports in various cities across the United States to explore several large societal issues, through a focused lens offered by poetry and her own coming-to-the-art.

"Natasha Trethewey is an outstanding poet/historian," Billington said. "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 succeeds Philip Levine as Poet Laureate and joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position including W. S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass, and Rita Dove.