Mississippi poet Natasha Trethewey was born in 1966 in Gulfport, Mississippi, to Eric Trethewey (also a poet ) and Gwendolyn Grimmette Trethewey. Before Trethewey started grade school, her parents divorced, and she moved to Decatur, Georgia, with her mother. As a youth, Trethewey spent her summers with her grandmother in Mississippi and in New Orleans with her father. She has always loved words and even at a young age spent much of her time in a library reading as many books as possible. When Trethewey was nineteen (1985), her mother passed away (Emory Report).
After high school, Trethewey earned her Bachelor's degree at the University of Georgia in English and creative writing. She earned her Master's degree in English and creative writing at Hollins University, where her father is a professor of English and the author of three collections of poems. Later, she went to the University of Massachusetts from which she received her M.F.A. in poetry (Gale).
Throughout Trethwey's career, she has received many awards, including grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to continue her work on Bellocq's Ophelia, (poems based on her work as a graduate student about photographs of prostitutes in the 1900's in New Orleans). For "Storyville Diary" she won the Grolier Poetry Prize. In 1999, she was selected by Rita Dove to receive the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet for Domestic Work , which was published in the fall of 2000 by Graywolf Press. In 2001, she received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the Lillian Smith Award for poetry. She received the prestigious
Photo above: Actor/director Stuart Margolin and Natasha Trethewey
Bunting fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She has received money from the Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund award. Other awards that Trethewey has received include the Margaret Walker Award for poetry, the Jessica Nobel-Maxwell Memorial Award for poetry, the Julia Peterkin Award at Converse College, and the Distinguished Young Alumna Award at the University of Massachusetts (Gale).
Photo above: Actor/director Stuart Margolin and Natasha Trethewey.
Trethewey's work has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines. She has published two collections of poetry: Domestic Work and Bellocq's Ophelia. Her current work in progress is called Native Guard and is also a collection of letter poems by black guardsmen who were once stationed at Gulfport, Mississippi. In addition to Trethewey's father Eric being a poet, her stepmother also has published collections of poetry (Emory Report). Trethewey taught as an assistant professor of English at Auburn University in Alabama before accepting her current position as an assistant professor of English, poetry, and creative writing at Emory University in Decatur, Georgia.