An Afternoon with Natasha Trethewey
St. Luke's Episcopal Church invites you to a very special afternoon with Natasha Trethewey, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States. Trethewey will read from her critically acclaimed books Memorial Drive and Monument, both of which will be sold at the event by Bookends & Beginnings, as well as other selections of her work. Join us for an intimate reading, Q&A, and book signing with this brilliant poet.
In Memorial Drive, Trethewey explores the aftermath of how at age 19 her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.
Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence, but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.
Monument, Trethewey’s first retrospective, draws together verse that delineates the stories of working class African American women, a mixed-race prostitute, one of the first black Civil War regiments, mestizo and mulatto figures in Casta paintings, Gulf coast victims of Katrina. Through the collection, inlaid and inextricable, winds the poet’s own family history of trauma and loss, resilience and love.
Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014), while also serving as the Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi (2012-2016). She is the recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. From 2015-2016, she served as poetry editor of the New York Times Magazine. In 2017 she received the Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities, and in 2020, she received the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry from the Library of Congress. A member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets in 2019. At Northwestern University she is Board of Trustees Professor of English in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.