Natasha Trethewey was praised by Librarian of Congress James Billington for making herself so accessible to the public.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Trethewey first became poet laureate in June of 2012 and was appointed as Poet Laureate of Mississippi, her home state, during the same year. She is a Pulitzer Prize winner for her poetry collection “Native Guard,” which was released in 2006.
In discussing Trethewey’s reappointment, Billington praised her openness and the steps she took to make herself available to the public, including her unusual decision to move to Washington D.C. for the year and the weekly office hours she maintained which were open to the public.
“One of Natasha’s quotes that I like particularly is that there is a poem for everyone,” Billington told the Washington Post. “We don’t force a broader role on any laureates, but she’s done it so wonderfully.”
Trethewey will return to her home in Georgia for her next term as poet laureate. She will also participate in a project with PBS correspondent Jeffrey Brown. The pair will contribute features to the PBS Newshour Poetry Series that will involve their traveling to various areas in the US in order to consider poetry and its relationship to region.
“Natasha seems to feel that poetry has a public place in the world, and I like that very much,” Brown said of the writer. “She wants to show people that it doesn’t just live in libraries and universities…. she wants to go out and see where poetry lives out in the country.”
Trethewey’s term as poet laureate of Mississippi will last through 2016. (She is so far the only writer to be the poet laureate of a state and the country at the same time.)