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Pulitzer Prize-winning poet to read at WFU

February 7, 2008

Natasha Trethewey, Phyllis Wheatley Distinguished Chair and professor of poetry in the creative writing program at Emory University, will read from her most recent collection, “Native Guard,” for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at Wake Forest University’s Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery in the Scales Fine Arts Center.  A reception and book signing will follow the reading.

The event, part of the Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series, is free and open to the public and made possible with support from the department of English, the E.E. Folk Fund, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Women’s & Gender Studies program.

 “Native Guard” commemorates one of the Union’s first official units comprised of black soldiers to fight in the Civil War.  It also recalls the author’s own childhood as the daughter of a black woman and a white man, whose marriage was still illegal in 1966 in Mississippi, and elegizes Trethewey’s mother, who was murdered by her second husband.

Trethewey’s first collection of poems, “Domestic Work,” won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.  Her second collection, “Bellocq’s Ophelia,” received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association.

Trethewey holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in English and creative writing from Hollins University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from the University of Massachusetts.  She has taught at Auburn University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, where she was the 2005-2006 Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies.

For more information about the event, contact Conor O’Callaghan, poet-in residence, at 758-3914 or

Press Contacts:

Eric Frazier
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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