Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey to read at UNCA

UNCA’s website announces:

Natasha Tretheway, one of America’s most acclaimed poets and a compelling speaker, will offer a reading and talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in UNC Asheville’s Humanities Lecture Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

Tretheway won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for “Native Guard” (2006, Houghton Mifflin). The title poem of this collection recalls one of the first black Confederate regiments mustered during the Civil War. The regiment was organized in New Orleans, but later stationed on an island near Trethewey’s hometown of Gulfport, Miss.

“Native Guard,” Trethewey’s third published collection, also contains poems examining feelings in Mississippi about Tretheway’s biracial heritage. Her parents travelled to Ohio to marry because they could not legally do so in their home state.

Tretheway “has a gift for squeezing the contradictions of the South into very tightly controlled lines,” according to a Washington Post review.

In her UNC Asheville appearance, Trethewey will likely present poems from her newest collection, to be released this fall, which is concerned with colonialism in the Americas. “My obsessions stay the same – historical memory and historical erasure,” said Trethewey. “’Thrall,’ which is the name of the new book, arises out of the research on ‘Native Guard.’ I always go to the Oxford English Dictionary … the first definition [of native] is ‘someone born into the condition of servitude, of thrall.’”

Trethewey is Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University. Her appearance is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities Professorship at UNC Asheville. For more information, contact the UNC Asheville Department of Humanities at 828.251-6808.


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