Trethewey opens world of poetry to Emory students

Sept. 10, 2012


Elaine Justice

Emory students talk about what it's like to have an award-winning poet as their professor in this video by Stephen Beehler.


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Natasha Trethewey

As Natasha Trethewey gives her inaugural reading as 19th U.S. Poet Laureate on Sept. 13 in Washington, D.C., Emory students reflect on the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet's approach in the classroom:

"You always hope to work with people who are really well recognized within their fields, so when the opportunity presented itself to work with Natasha Trethewey, it was incredible," says Hannah Blakeley, a sophomore at Emory who took Trethewey's freshman poetry seminar last year. "Just being in her classroom and feeling her positive and encouraging energy inspired me to be open-minded to poetry and learn to love it."

Rachel Bottoms, a senior majoring in English, says that reading poems in Trethewey's class can be intimidating, "but I enjoy her style in class. She's direct, she's communicative, she's honest, and I think honesty is really what we all need as aspiring writers ... it's really what helps us grow."

Trethewey is director of Emory's Creative Writing Program and is serving a four-year term as Poet Laureate of Mississippi.