The Power of Poetry: Natasha Trethewey Comes to the Library

The following is a guest post from the Library’s Director of Communications, Gayle Osterberg.

Chris Wallace interviews Natasha Trethewey

Chris Wallace of Fox News interviews Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry Natasha Trethewey in the Poetry Room of the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center. Photo by Abby Brack Lewis

It has been a busy first two weeks for the Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, who is working this spring from the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center – a first for a laureate.

She visited with fellow poet Richard Blanco about his poem “One Today”, which he read at Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration. She appeared on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show. She met with Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran. And she was profiled beautifully by the Washingtonian’s Sophie Gilbert in the new February issue.

Then on Wednesday, her first reading of the year drew a standing-room-only audience of several hundred to hear her read from “Native Guard”, her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection that she researched and wrote here at the Library. The Washington Post’s Ron Charles describes it here.

It is no wonder Chris Wallace and the Fox News Sunday team decided to spotlight Natasha as this week’s Power Player of the Week. She will be featured on this Sunday’s program, and I hope you and thousands nationwide have a chance to watch her and hear her talk about poetry and its importance as an elegant form of communication that touches the heart as well as the intellect.

She was asked at Wednesday’s reading what her top three priorities are for her laureateship and she replied to applause, “Bring poetry to a wider audience, bring poetry to a wider audience, bring poetry to a wider audience.” I think it is fair to say even after a few days she will absolutely meet those goals.


  1. Jeffrey Alan Castillo
    February 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    NICE photograph

  2. JoAnn Anglin
    February 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    I only wish her readings could [and all LOC readings] could be video-taped, to be enjoyed by those of us who are a long way from DC.

  3. @jphoganorg
    February 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I was amiss not knowing of new Poet Laureate already. I look forward to reading some poems of another poet. Poet JP Hogan

  4. Darlene
    February 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Ms. Trethewey’s reading was beautiful. She will definitely achieve her goal!

  5. Lisa Peoples
    February 5, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Natasha understands the power of words! I held back tears when she read “Help”. It truly touched my soul.

  6. Tamara Davis Brown
    February 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I attended Ms. Tretheway’s reading at the LOC last Wednesday. I was both proud and glad to be a part of this event, a first for me at the LOC. I told her during the book signing that she is well on her way of “bring(ing) poetry to wider audience.”

    She was very gracious to the audience, and her research that prompted her poetry is truly academic. Her craft is superb, and I’m glad that she has done what no other laureate has done — take her office in the LOC.

    The LOC is blessed to have her presence. More public events with her are absolutely essential, but let her visit the local public schools as well, especially all-girl (public and private) schools.

  7. John Sayers
    February 6, 2013 at 7:59 am

    JoAnn, all of the poetry readings at the Library are taped and later made available on our site and through our YouTube channel at

  8. Deborah Mack
    February 6, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Ms. Trethewey’s prose is lyrical, soulful and timeless. Her quiet grace informs and enriches her writing.

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