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Professor Natasha Trethewey inducted into American Academy of Arts and Letters

Renowned Northwestern poet joins pathbreaking writers, including Gwendolyn Brooks and W.E.B. Du Bois

Natasha Trethewey
Natasha Trethewey joined Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences as a Board of Trustees Professor of English in the fall of 2017

Renowned poet and Northwestern English professor Natasha Trethewey will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters at the annual induction ceremony today (May 21, 2019).

Trethewey is one of 11 remarkable artists, including author David Sedaris and violinist-composer Chen Yi, to join the elite society that has counted W.E.B. Du Bois, John Updike and Gwendolyn Brooks among its members since its founding in 1898. 

“It’s humbling to be included among this distinguished group, many of whom are the artists and writers whose work has inspired and instructed me over the years,” Trethewey told the Associated Press.   

The American Academy of Arts and Letters is an honor society of the country’s 250 leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Each year it elects new members as vacancies occur, administers over 70 awards and prizes, exhibits art and manuscripts, funds performances of new works of musical theater, and purchases artwork for donation to museums across the United States. 

The academy will also unveil a special exhibit featuring poetry by Trethewey among paintings, photographs, video, and sketchbooks; architectural models and renderings; and original manuscripts by other newly elected members and recipients of honors and awards.

A native of Mississippi, Trethewey was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2007 for “Native Guard: Poems” and served two terms as U.S. Poet Laureate. She joined Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences as a Board of Trustees Professor of English in the fall of 2017. 

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