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Birmingham MasterNatasha Trethewey, the 19th United States Poet Laureate (2012-13), is the author of Thrall, Native Guard, for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, Bellocq’s Ophelia, which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association, and Domestic Work. She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Mediation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

In his citation, Librarian of Congress James Billington wrote, “Her poems dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face.”

In this keynote address, Trethewey reads from her recent book of poems, Thrall, and discusses how she uses the history of America to inform her work, as well as the stories of her past growing up a mixed-race child in the segregated South.