Natasha TretheweyNatasha Trethewey will deliver the 2016 Frank B. Hanes Writer-in-Residence reading on Tuesday, March 22  at 7:30PM in the Genome Sciences Auditorium on the UNC Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Since her extraordinary debut work, Domestic Work, poet Natasha Trethewey has evoked the voices, struggles, and dreams of people all too often left out of America’s written narrative. “My intention in poems,” she writes, “ is to try to tell a fuller version of history, to consider things that might help change the future that we’re headed to, to make a world that is more inclusive, just, and humane than at our present moment.” Hers is an essential voice in this country’s ongoing struggle to achieve racial equality and justice.

Born in Gulfport, Mississippi to a mixed-race couple whose union was still illegal at the time of their marriage, Trethewey was an intimate witness to the inequality and everyday strife that would someday become a common theme in her work. When she was nineteen, her mother was murdered, a tragedy that led her to turn towards writing poems: “I turned to poetry to make sense of what had happened …. It took me nearly twenty years to find the right language, to write poems that were successful enough to explain my own feelings to me and that might also be meaningful to others.” Readers all over the world have found strength in Trethewey’s willingness to share her own personal tragedy and in her ability to turn the unspeakable into an occasion for connection and understanding.

Trethewey is the author of four poetry collections: Thrall (2012); Native Guard, for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize; Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002), which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association; and Domestic Work (2000). She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2010) and the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. At Emory University she is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing.

Natasha Trethewey is widely known as the nineteenth Poet Laureate of the United States, a position she held for two terms from 2012-2014. One of her most powerful projects as Poet Laureate was the PBS NewsHour series, “Where Poetry Lives,” an in-depth look at civic life in the United States through the lens of poetry. During this series Trethewey and NPR correspondent Jeffrey Brown traveled 100 miles from Mississippi to Alabama as part of Congressman John Lewis’ fourteenth Annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Along the way Americans tuning in got to see their Poet Laureate out in the world, considering the ways poetry might aid in the fight for justice for all.

Of her work, former Poet Laureate Rita Dove has said, “Trethewey eschews the Polaroid instant, choosing to render the unsuspecting yearnings and tremulous hopes that accompany our most private thoughts—reclaiming for us that interior life where the true self flourishes and to which we return, in solitary reverie, for strength.”

She is the poet we need most right now: a clear-eyed witness who gives voice to the best and worst in us, helping us see how we might move forward.




Darryl GlessA memorial service for Darryl James Gless, Distinguished Professor of Renaissance Studies in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, will take place 4 p.m. Sunday, August. 24, at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on campus. 

With great sadness, we meet the loss of our beloved Darryl Gless. Since joining us in 1980, Darryl brought to our department and the University a spirit of generosity and an unmatched ability to lead and create. His scholarship and teaching inspired generations of students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, as recognized by his receiving a University Tanner Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1983 and the Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2013. Darryl also provided a vital voice for the humanities, and he translated that voice into action as both Chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature and Senior Associate Dean for the Humanities. Darryl’s tireless work in defense of the humanities garnered the attention of President Clinton, who appointed him to the National Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1994. Invaluable as a colleague, visionary as a leader, cherished in the classroom, Darryl embodied every aspect of what it means to be a person and professor. We celebrate his life even as we recognize just how dearly he will be missed.

Darryl Gless's family asks that memorial gifts be made to the Darryl Gless Graduate Student Support Fund at UNC-Chapel Hill. Please send checks by mail to Arts and Sciences Foundation, Campus Box 6115, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-6115, with a note in memo line (or attached correspondence) that the gift is for the Darryl Gless Graduate Student Support Fund or follow this link to make a contribution online.

The family also requests that friends consider donating blood and platelets and register as bone marrow donors in his memory. The News and Observer has posted more details about Darryl’s life and achievements.

A memorial service for Darryl will take place 4 p.m. Sunday, August. 24, at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on campus.  

Parking is available on Stadium Drive, and for a fee, at the Rams Head Deck.