Natasha Trethewey was born on April 26, 1966 in Gulfport, Mississippi. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Thrall, Domestic Work, Bellocq's Ophelia, and Native Guard, for which she won the Pulitizer Prize. Additional honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012, Trethewey was named Poet Laureate of Mississippi and she is the 2012--2014 U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. She currently holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University.
Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a memoir in words, pictures, poetry, and letters that details the struggles of Trethewey's family living along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.