Skip to main content

Natasha Trethewey poem ‘Repentance’ featured in The New Yorker

Natasha Trethewey joined the Northwestern faculty this fall.

“Repentance,” a new poem by renowned poet Natasha Trethewey, who joined Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences as a Board of Trustees Professor of English in the fall, appeared in the New Yorker this week.

“Repentance” is featured in the Nov. 20, 2017 issue of the magazine.

“It’s taken me several years to finish the poem,” Trethewey said. “In the time since I began writing it I lost my father, who died in 2014. My regret is that he never got to see my repentance.” 

Trethewey was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2007 for “Native Guard: Poems” and served two terms as U.S. Poet Laureate. Prior to joining the faculty of Northwestern, she taught at Emory University. 

Trethewey’s poetry draws on extensive research and on memories of her own experience as the daughter of an African-American mother and white father whose marriage union was illegal in Mississippi at that time. Her themes explore memory, history and racial injustice, and her writing style moves effortlessly from free verse to more traditional forms.

Trethewey will teach in Northwestern’s Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program, a new joint Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and Master of Arts in English degree program. The program, which will expand students’ skills and employment prospects, with a shorter path to completion than a Ph.D. in creative writing, is the first program of its kind at a top-tier university. She also will teach in the undergraduate creative writing program.