Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet to Read at Monmouth University

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3/15/2012

The 2011-2012 Visiting Writers Series continues with a reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey on Thursday, March 22, at 4:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall Auditorium on Monmouth University’s campus.

Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, Natasha Trethewey is author of: Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press); Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize; Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002) which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association; and Domestic Work (Graywolf, 2000). Her collection Thrall is due for publication in Fall 2012.

The daughter of a mixed-race marriage, Trethewey is adept at combining the personal and the historical in her work. Her second book, Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002), is about a fictional prostitute in New Orleans in the early 1900s. For the book, Trethewey researched the lives of the women in the red-light district, many of whom were mixed-race. She commented that the project combined “the details of my own mixed-race experience in the deep South” with facts about the real women’s lives. Her third book of poems, Native Guard (2006), won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. The book contains elegies to her mother, who died while Trethewey was in college, and a sonnet sequence in the voice of a black soldier fighting in the Civil War.

She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry. Her first collection of poetry, Domestic Work (2000), was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. She is the current State Poet Laureate of Mississippi, appointed in 2012.

Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts Visiting Writers Series brings the most celebrated poets and authors from around the world (Andrei Codrescu, Colm Tóibín, Adam Zagajewski) and our own back yard (Long Branch’s own US Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky) to the beautiful auditorium of the University’s centerpiece, historic Wilson Hall. With our Visiting Writers Series, we hope the audience will experience a renewed sense of their relationship to poetry and fiction, to language, and to be moved emotionally by that writer’s representation of what it means to be a human being, whether that experience is one of joy, celebration, longing, or sorrow.

For additional information, please contact the director of the Visiting Writers Series, Michael Thomas at 732-263-5635 or visit online at www.monmouth.edu/arts_events/visitingwriters.asp.

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Media contact: Petra Ludwig at 732-263-5507

Natasha Trethewey