Trethewey is the author of four books of poetry and a collection of creative nonfiction. In addition to the Pulitzer, her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation  and the National Endowment for the Arts . She teaches literature and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta.
Trethewey came fairly late to poetry, having devoted her energy to fiction until the death of her mother when Trethewey was in college. She brings a storyteller's eye for narrative arc and a historian's passion for accuracy to her work. Native Guard , the collection for which she was awarded the Pulitzer, deals with a Union army regiment of African American soldiers assigned to guard captured Confederates. It is a well-researched contemplation of a history that is not always written by the victors.
In a secret ceremony, Librarian of Congress, James Billington will bestow upon Trethewey the laurel, ceremonial broadsword and star-spangled pom-poms that are the Laureate's insignia.