CLEVELAND, Miss. (AP) — U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey describes herself as a "cheerleader" for the written word.
Part of the reason she chooses the label is because, as a younger laureate, she wants to bring a sense of energy to the position.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the 46-year-old Mississippi native says: "I want to ask ordinary people if poetry can mean something to them."
The librarian of Congress, James Billington, named Trethewey as the nation's 19th poet laureate in June, and she began the one-year position in September. She has already given speeches and public readings in Washington, D.C., and in two states where she grew up, Mississippi and Georgia.
Many of her poems explore the interplay of race, memory and history.