Thursday, June 07, 2012

Natasha Trethewey Is the New U.S. Poet Laureate!!!

The Library of Congress is to announce Thursday that the next poet laureate is Natasha Trethewey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of three collections and a professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta.


Cannot tell you how excited and happy I am for Natasha.  Not sure if I've ever told this story, but it seems like a good time.

Back in February 2008, Natasha came to Babson College to read as part of the Thompson Poetry Series. We had not met before, but I had the opportunity to escort her around campus. She was kind and gracious and just as warm as she could be. Great with students, as you might expect.

At the time, I was getting together my author photo and blurbs for Underlife. My publisher had requested a foreword. Asking a poet for a blurb is one thing, but asking for a foreword? That's a commitment to the poet and the trajectory of her work.

It took me all day to get up the nerve to ask Natasha; I fully expected her to say no. Why would she write a blurb for a poet she just met? Well, she told me that Rita Dove had written the foreword to her first book, Domestic Work. And Natasha knew how difficult it was to bring a first book into the world. I think she felt it was the right time to pay it forward. She agreed to write the foreword, and I am eternally grateful.

I can't fully explain it, but that simple act of saying yes was like becoming part of a lineage.

Poets, we are lucky, lucky folks to have such a talented, skilled, and generous writer in this position.

Congratulations, Natasha! XO

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