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Trethewey's unshakable Southern resolve has appeared throughout her first five collections and will likely remain prevalent in her future work. In January, Trethewey will temporarily leave her beloved South behind as she heads north to take up residence in the nation's capital. She'll be the first-ever U.S. Poet Laureate to take advantage of the Library of Congress' dedicated office for the honorary position. By doing so, she hopes to approach the opportunity "differently than had been done before."
"I'm actually in this situation to take up residency," she explains. "I'll be able to hold office hours for the public during the weeks that I'm there."
It'll be her first time living outside of the South in some time, but she isn't worried about missing the region as she fulfills her Laureateship's duties.
"I have fond memories of working on my last book, Native Guard, doing research in the library and then spending some time writing in the reading room there," she says. "I feel like D.C.'s not that far away, that I won't still feel a little of the flavor of South while I'm there. It doesn't feel so remote and removed from the South."
Regardless of how far she travels from here and how long she stays away, her Southernness will remain with her, as an inextricable part of her identity.
"It's the best kind of thing," she says, "to feel that history and write about the South, as a native daughter. It's what I was destined to do."