Natasha Trethewey won the 2007 Pulitzer
Prize for poetry for Native Guard
, her 2006 collection about black Union soldiers who guarded a fort off the coast of Mississippi during the U.S. Civil War. Tretheway was herself born in Mississippi, but grew up with her mom in Decatur, Georgia, with visits to her grandmother in Gulfport, Mississippi and her father, the poet Eric Trethewey, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She graduated from the University of Georgia (1989), where she was a football cheerleader, then went on to earn graduate degrees from Virginia's Hollins University (1991) and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1995). Trethewey's poems about cultural memory and ethnic identity have been winning prizes since she published her first collection, Domestic Work
, in 2000. A National Endowment for the Arts grant allowed her to work on her 2002 collection, Bellocq's Ophelia
, and in 2003 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship. A longtime teacher of creative writing, Trethewey has been an associate professor at Atlanta's Emory University since 2002.