May 5, 2003

Trethewey wins Guggenheim

By Beverly Clark

Assistant Professor Natasha Trethewey has received a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, awarded on the basis of distinguished achievement and exceptional promise of future accomplishment from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Trethewey, a poet and faculty member in creative writing, was among the 184 scholars, artists and scientists selected from more than 2,800 applicants for awards totaling $6.75 million. Trethewey is the author of two acclaimed collections of poetry: Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000) and Bellocq’s Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002).

“In her relatively brief time at Emory, Natasha Trethewey has distinguished herself as a writer of rare excellence,” said Robert Paul, interim dean of Emory College. “She richly deserves to be associated with one of the world’s most prestigious fellowships, which also adds to the distinction of our creative writing program.”

Trethewey grew up in the Atlanta area, graduating from Redan High School and the University of Georgia. She plans to use her fellowship to travel and do research on Confederate and civil rights’ memorials in her native state of Mississippi and other locales in the South, gathering observations that she will use to complete a third volume of poetry, titled Native Guard.

“In positioning myself as a native daughter, and native guard of Mississippi’s past, I intend to explore the rift between public and personal memory, and grapple with the themes of home and exile, memory and history, which occupy the forefront of the landscape of my imagination,” Trethewey said of her work.

Fellowships are based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisors and are approved by the foundation’s board of trustees, which includes seven members who are themselves past fellows of the foundation. Many of these individuals hold appointments in colleges and universities, with 86 institutions being represented by one or more fellows. The full list of this year’s fellows is available at