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Laureate Projects Present and Past

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Tonight the next segment of Natasha Trethewey’s second-year project, “Where Poetry Lives,” airs on the PBS NewsHour. For this segment, Natasha traveled to her native Mississippi to participate in the 14th Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage, led by Congressman John Lewis. This segment marks a turn for the project: the first four highlighted poetry programs with different communities, while for the fifth Natasha is herself a highlighted participant in a historic event. I’m excited as always to see the segment when it airs, and to travel west next week for the final “Where Poetry Lives” shoot—stay tuned for more details.

NatashaJeff March
Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey with PBS NewsHour Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown, on the 14th Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage.(Courtesy of the PBS NewsHour)

I’d also like to nod towards one of the longest-running Laureate projects: the Favorite Poem Project, launched by Robert Pinsky in 1997. Robert is participating in a new FPP event tonight: “Favorite Poem Project: Chicago” at the Poetry Foundation headquarters in Chicago. Alas, all the RSVPs have been snatched up, but the foundation will soon post six videos from the event—including Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel presenting Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago”—on its website.

We’re thrilled to see Robert’s project continue, as many others have. Hopefully future Poets Laureate feel inspired to dream up projects while in office, and the Library can help them expand the ways poetry reaches audiences across the country.



  1. Natasha Trethewey is breathing new life into our understanding of poetry as well as it’s importance to our humanity. We all should all take notice of her contribution. We are beholden to her.

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