Penn State

Julia Spicher Kasdorf - Professor of English and Womens Studies, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Thrall

Author: Natasha Trethewey

Book Description:

 This fall Natasha Trethaway will begin serving as the 19th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry of the Library of Congress. Born in Gulfport, Mississippi in 1966, she is the first Southerner to hold the post since Robert Penn Warren, the original laureate.  Like Warren, Trethaway writes about history and particular places with care and imagination.  Thrall is her forth book of poems, and it continues her project of using poetry to perform the work of personal memory and public history.  Her poems articulate those events from public and private life that people would prefer to forget.  She writes in traditional and free verse forms, and her work demonstrates an abiding commitment to name human experience in plainspoken language.  I chose her new book, Thrall, to honor her laureateship this year and to call attention to the ways contemporary poetry can serve both personal and public purposes.

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