Trethewey, 46, an English and creative writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, recently was named the 19th U.S. poet laureate.
The Pulitzer Prize winner is the nation’s first poet laureate to hail from the South since the initial one – Robert Penn Warren – was named by the Library of Congress in 1986. She is also Mississippi’s top poet and will be the first person to serve simultaneously as a state and U.S. laureate.
Trethewey won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems, “Native Guard.” –excerpt from TheDay.com
like everything I’ve forgotten—disappear
into the subterranean, a world
made by displacement. In the cemetery
last June, I circled, lost—
weeds and grass grown up all around—
the landscape blurred and waving.
At my mother’s grave, ants streamed in
and out like arteries, a tiny hill rising
above her untended plot. Bit by bit,
red dirt piled up, spread
like a rash on the grass; I watched a long time
the ants’ determined work,
how they brought up soil
of which she will be part,
and placed it before me. Believe me when I say
I’ve tried not to begrudge them
their industry, this reminder of what
I haven’t done. Even now,
the mound is a blister on my heart,
a red and humming swarm.
Audio Clip – March 3, 2007 – AWP Conference, Atlanta – From Academy Audio Archive