Snapshots of the Past with Natasha Trethewey

This is the seventh installment in a series at #TeachLivingPoets. The Poet Laureate Project features a different U.S. Poet Laureate each month during the 2019-2020 school year. Guest author Ann Cox highlights one or two of their poems, suggests activities to use these pieces in the classroom, and touches upon their contributions to the promotion of poetry in America. Ann Cox has over 20 years of experience teaching high school English, including AP Lit, Creative Writing, and Speech. She also spent several years as a teacher consultant for the Illinois State Writing Project.

logoThis month’s featured poet is Natasha Trethewey, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2012-2014. Her honors include a Pulitzer Prize, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and inductions into the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

Trethewey focuses on both the personal and the historical in her work. Academy of American Poets Chancellor Marilyn Nelson said, “Natasha Trethewey’s poems plumb personal and national history to meditate on the conundrum of American racial identities…Trethewey encourages us to reflect [and] learn….” I’ve chosen her poem “History Lesson” to showcase how artfully she blends the personal with the historical. Continue reading