U.S. Poet Laureate Reading and Webchat
“National Poetry Month: A Conversation with Natasha Trethewey” was hosted by the American Corner in the Main Library, Crescent Building, on Tuesday, April 22nd. The program consisted of an interactive video webcast of a poetry reading by Natasha Trethewey, the U.S. Poet Laureate, and Christopher Merrill, Director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, who read their poetry and then fielded questions via live web chat. The live program was hosted at the American University of Sharjah in conjunction with the U.S. Consulate Dubai, and streamed to the American Corner in Al Ain. UAEU students, including Organizers Club members, were very active in chatting, asking about the form and content of the poetry, and what inspired the poets in their work. Comments included:

“…I want to know what inspires Natasha to write poetry. And why all her poems are sad!”
“WOW. Natasha uses the same word too many times in the same poem, but the usage of it really amazing! How do you do it?... most of the time repetition makes the poem weak. But she used it in a way which makes it powerful and touching!”
“My remark is for Mr. Christopher, I found your poems to be very similar to those modern poems written by contemporary Arab poets. I sincerely enjoyed the poem titled “No sugar in the promised land.” I would like to get a copy of the poem, where can I do so?” [Answer: The question refers to the poem "Land" by Agha Shahid Ali. You can read it here:http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/30441
This was a successfully interactive program with participation from an enthusiastic group of students. If you want more information about the Poet Laureate, her biography is below.

Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. She is the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States and the author of four collections of poetry, Domestic Work (2000), Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002), Native Guard (2006)—for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize—and, most recently, Thrall, (2012). Her book of non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, appeared in 2010. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. At Emory University she is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing.

For more information about the American Corner, its resources or programs, please contact the American Corner Coordinator, Ms. Budour Al Jaberi, or the American Corner Director, Ms. Muhra Mubarak at: asc@uaeu.ac.ae or (03) 713-4692.