Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996. She is the author of "News to Me: Adventures of an Accidental Journalist," winner of a Minnesota Book Award.

A new U.S. poet laureate

Posted by: Laurie Hertzel under Book news Updated: June 7, 2012 - 12:50 PM

Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey

Some of you very lucky people were fortunate enough to go see Natasha Trethewey when she was in town a year ago, speaking at the U. Trethewey was gracious enough to come up here (from the South! in March! she's a goddess! and brave!) to fill in when Joan Didion was forced to cancel her event.

While Trethewey might not be a household name yet, she should be--she's won a Pulitzer Prize, the Cave Canem Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, what more do you people want, poet laureate? Oh, OK, let's add poet laureate to the list.

Yep, it was announced last night that Trethewey will become the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate in September, following Philip Levine--and joining the ranks of W.S. Merwin, Kay Sexton, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Rita Dove, and so many others. Household names all, it is hoped.

Trethewey teaches at Emory University in Atlanta, and some of her earlier collections were published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press. She grew up in Mississippi and won the Pulitzer for "Native Guard," (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), which weaves together stories about black soldiers in the Civil War with stories about her own childhood, the daughter of a black woman and a white man (whose mixed-race marriage was illegal back then).

Her new collection, "Thrall," will be published in September.

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