Trethewey, the 19th poet laureate, will take up her duties in the fall, opening the library's annual literary season with a reading of her work Sept. 13 in the Coolidge Auditorium in Washington.
"Natasha Trethewey is an outstanding poet/historian in the mold of Robert Penn Warren, our first poet laureate consultant in poetry," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement. "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."
Trethewey succeeds Philip Levine as poet laureate and joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position including W. S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Gluck, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass and Rita Dove.
She is the author of three poetry collections, including "Native Guard," "Bellocq's Ophelia" and "Domestic Work." An English and creative writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Trethewey will reside in the Washington area from January through May and work in the Poets Room of the Poetry and Literature Center.