For Immediate Release

U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey to Read in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois

Award-winning Southern poet has written about race, Hurricane Katrina, and American history

January 25, 2013

CHICAGO—The Poetry Foundation and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum present two readings by current U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. She will read at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago on Tuesday, February 5, and at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois on Thursday, February 7.

Named the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate in June 2012, Natasha Trethewey is among the youngest poets to have been appointed to the post, the first African American since Rita Dove, and the first Southerner since Robert Penn Warren held the office in the 1980s. Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, she is the author of four collections of poetry, including Native Guard, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and Thrall, her latest volume of verse. She has also published Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and has a memoir coming out in 2013.

Librarian of Congress James Billington has written that Trethewey’s poems “dig beneath the surface of history—personal and communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles we all face.” Native Guard, for example, draws its title from an unsung regiment of African American soldiers who were commissioned to watch over Confederate prisoners of war, while some of the poems in Thrall explore mixed-race marriage from both cultural and personal perspectives.

Among Trethewey’s many other honors are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Cave Canem Prize for her first collection, Domestic Work. Trethewey holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University.

Poetry off the Shelf: Natasha Trethewey
Tuesday, February 5, 7:00 PM
Poetry Foundation
61 West Superior Street
Free admission

Poetry off the Shelf: Natasha Trethewey
Thursday, February 7, 6:30 PM
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
212 North Sixth Street
Springfield, Illinois
Free admission; reservations required

Find information about other Poetry Foundation events at

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About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

About the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is a dynamic institution with ever-expanding collections that are essential to understanding the history of Illinois and its most famous citizen, Abraham Lincoln. All researchers—genealogists, scholars, students, and those studying historical issues of personal interest—are welcome. The Museum uses a combination of cutting-edge technology and rigorous scholarship to tell the story of Abraham Lincoln. Its temporary exhibits, conferences, publications and online services promote historical literacy on Lincoln and a wide range of related topics. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is part of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, a state agency. For more information, please visit

POETRY FOUNDATION | 61 W. Superior Street | Chicago, IL 60654 | 312.787.7070

Media Contact: Stephanie Hlywak, 312.799.8016;

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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