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Poet Laureate Trethewey to speak at UGA during Spotlight on the Arts festival

Athens, Ga. – Natasha Trethewey, U.S. poet laureate for 2012-2013, will deliver the University of Georgia Charter Lecture as one of the signature events during UGA’s Spotlight on the Arts festival scheduled for Nov. 3-11. Trethewey will speak Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in the Chapel with a public reception immediately following in Demosthenian Hall.

Trethewey is the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, published by the University of Georgia Press; Native Guard, for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Bellocq’s Ophelia, named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association; and Domestic Work, winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet. Her collection Thrall has just been released by Houghton Mifflin.

Trethewey’s UGA connections date back to her undergraduate days, when she earned a degree in English from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences in 1989 before pursuing a master’s degree in poetry from Hollins University and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

In addition to the UGA Press publishing her 2010 memoir Beyond Katrina, Trethewey has been a contributor to The Georgia Review, UGA’s internationally recognized quarterly journal of arts and letters. This year, The Georgia Review is sponsoring her appearance and that of several other Georgia writers, including new Georgia Poet Laureate Judson Mitcham, at the Georgia Literary Festival at Jekyll Island, where Trethewey will deliver the keynote address on Nov. 10.

In 2011, Trethewey was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, created by the UGA Libraries, and she is a two-time winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award, also administered by the UGA Libraries.

Besides serving as U.S. poet laureate, Trethewey was recently named poet laureate of her native Mississippi. She is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.

Trethewey will be the first-ever poet laureate to take up residence in Washington, D.C., and work directly in the Library of Congress’s Poetry and Literature Center. Her term begins this month and coincides with the 75th anniversary of both the poet laureate position and the Poetry and Literature Center.

The Charter Lecture Series was established in 1988 to honor the high ideals expressed in the 1785 charter that created UGA as the first state-chartered university in America.

“We are pleased that this year’s Charter Lecture could be timed to coincide with the Spotlight on the Arts festival,” said Provost Jere Morehead. “Natasha Trethewey’s appearance will certainly be a highlight of the many activities planned during the nine days of the festival.”

Festival events will focus on the performing, visual and literary arts in various venues on campus and in the local community. Recently announced events include the dedication of Art Rosenbaum’s large-scale mural tracing the modern political history of Georgia on Nov. 5 at the Russell Special Collections Library; a performance of Carmina Burana by the UGA Symphony Orchestra, University Chorus, Hodgson Singers and Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs on Nov. 6 in Hodgson Hall; screenings of documentary films from the Peabody Awards Collection; and several events at the Georgia Museum of Art, including a Nov. 8 Student Day and a lecture by artist Chakaia Booker, whose works are on display in the museum’s sculpture garden.

Events presented by UGA’s Performing Arts Center during the festival include the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Nov. 4, Blue Man Group Nov. 6-7 (at the Classic Center Theatre in downtown Athens), and Bela Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio Nov. 9.

In addition, University Theater will present The Darker Face of the Earth by former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove Nov. 7-11 in the Fine Arts Theatre.

For information about tickets for music and theater performances, see or call the Performing Arts Center box office at 706/542-4400 or toll free at 888/289-8497.

Additional information about the festival and other arts events is available on the new Arts at UGA website at or on Facebook at


Note to editors: An image of the festival logo is available for download at