The Library of Congress is to announce Thursday that the next poet laureate is Natasha Trethewey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of three collections and a professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta. Ms. Trethewey, 46, was born in Gulfport, Miss., and is the first Southerner to hold the post since Robert Penn Warren, the original laureate, and the first African-American since Rita Dove in 1993.
For the rest of Charles McGrath's New York Times article reporting the appointment, click here.
By chance on this day I read a piece by Philip Levine, our current poet laureate, whom Trethewey will succeed officially in September. In a recent issue of The Normal School, a literary magazine based in Fresno, which is Levine's home turf, Phil writes that the first project he suggested to the Library of Congress on becoming PL was "a collection of the ugliest poems I could find" somewhat on the model of Robert Pinsky's "Favorite Poem Project." The LOC would have none of it, and Phil says he went on to the cause of "lost poems," such as "Abel" by Demetrios Capetanakis and "Opus 118" by the spurious Ann Knish of the Spectra hoax (1918). These are worthy works, and The Normal School does us a service by reprinting them, even if, from Levine's silence, one infers that the idea left the LOC cold. -- DL