Hollins alumna and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey has been named Mississippi’s poet laureate by Gov. Haley Barbour. Her duties will include reading from her work at meetings, seminars and conferences throughout Mississippi as a way to advance the literary arts in the Magnolia State.
“It’s an honor to have been named poet laureate of my native state – the place that made me a writer – and I am delighted to serve the citizens of Mississippi by promoting our rich and ongoing cultural and literary traditions,” Trethewey said in an article in The Sun Herald newspaper in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Trethewey is a native of Gulfport and earned her Master of Arts degree in English and creative writing from Hollins in 1991. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2007 for her collection, Native Guard, which pays tribute to African American soldiers who were stationed near the city during the Civil War. She has garnered numerous other prestigious writing awards such as the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize in 2001 and 2003, and the 2008 Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Poetry.
“She has received national and international for her poetry that is, often, a tribute to the state of Mississippi, and more specifically, the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Barbour told The Sun Herald.
Trethewey is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta, and will serve as the Louis D. Rubin Writer-in-Residence at Hollins in 2012. The Hollins Theatre is staging an adaptation of her book of poems, Bellocq’s Ophelia, February 15-19.