Natasha Trethewey, English and creative writing professor at Atlanta’s Emory University, is the 19th poet to be picked for the U.S poet laureate post. Trethewey is the first African-American since 1993 to win the title.

Natasha Trethewey, the newest U.S. poet laureate, uses Casta paintings and ekphrastic poetry to examine what it means to be mixed race, to be wanted and forgotten, accepted and disowned, in her forthcoming collection, Thrall. Throughout this slim volume she also reflects on the relationship with her poet father, who now lives in Canada. The best poem in the collection might be her “Elegy” to their tangled relationship. In her series of moving poems about casta paintings, Ms. Trethewey reveals her ability to not only compel the reader to contemplate the lives of the subjects of the paintings, but also to bring the subjects of the paintings to life as in her poem