Hit the Road, Poet Laureate: Trethewey Partners With NewsHour for Second Term

The Library of Congress reappointed U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey to a second term on Monday. Trethewey, 47, is concurrently the Poet Laureate of Mississippi and the author of four collections of poetry, including 2006’s “Native Guard,” for which she won a Pulitzer Prize. She will begin her new term in September.

Though she is not the first in her position to receive the honor of an extended post, the announcement does have special meaning for us at the PBS NewsHour and our Poetry series in particular.

In search of how poetry lives in communities across the United States, Trethewey will join our own Jeffrey Brown in a series of on-location broadcast reports for the NewsHour. Drawing on the poet’s own life experiences, they’ll explore, through the framework of poetry, issues that matter to Americans.

In her role as poet laureate, Trethewey spent part of her first year holding “Office Hours” in the Library’s poetry room in Washington, being available to the public for conversation. She intends to continue this practice with “Office Hours on the Road.”

Trethewey is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing and director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University. The multi-year laureate has made several appearances on the PBS NewsHour, beginning in 2006 with a trip to her home state of Mississippi to witness the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

In a 2012 conversation with Jeffrey Brown about her then-new post, Trethewey said she hoped she could “bring a lot of service to the role, rather than simply ceremonial or honorific as it certainly is.”