January 4, 2013 (REVISED January 23, 2013) Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey Will Read Civil War Poems Jan. 30

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Casper (202) 707-5394

U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey will read selections from her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection “Native Guard,” in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and in conjunction with the Library of Congress exhibition “The Civil War in America.”

The reading will be at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in Room 119 on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. A book-signing will follow. Sponsored by the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center, the event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed.

In “Native Guard,” Trethewey uses poetry to give voice to the Louisiana Native Guards, one of the first regiments of black soldiers recruited by the Union Army during the Civil War. Trethewey, in 2001, had researched “Native Guard” using primary-source documents from the Library’s Manuscript Division and later spent time writing the book in the Library’s Main Reading Room.

Trethewey, an English and creative writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, was named Poet Laureate in June 2012 by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. She is the author of four poetry collections and a book of nonfiction. In January 2012, she was named Poet Laureate of Mississippi for a four-year term and will continue in the position during her tenure as U.S. Poet Laureate.

“The Civil War in America” exhibition, which commemorates the sesquicentennial of the war, features more than 200 unique items that reveal the complexity of the Civil War through those who experienced it firsthand. Through diaries, letters, maps, song sheets, newspapers and broadsides, photographs, drawings and unusual artifacts, the exhibition chronicles the sacrifices and accomplishments of those—from both the North and South—whose lives were lost or affected by the events of 1861-1865.

The exhibition, which runs through June 1, 2013, will display for a limited time—until Feb. 18—the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, handwritten by President Abraham Lincoln, who read the document to his cabinet on July 22, 1862.

“The Civil War in America” is free and open to the public, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, in the Southwest Exhibition Gallery in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E. in Washington, D.C.

The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress fosters and enhances the public’s appreciation of literature. The center administers the endowed poetry chair (the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry), and coordinates an annual literary season of poetry, fiction and drama readings, performances, lectures and symposia, sponsored by the Library’s Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund and the Huntington Fund. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/poetry/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.


PR 13-001
ISSN 0731-3527