Claudia Emerson was an American poet who won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her collection Late Wife.
Emerson attended Chatham Hall, the University of Virginia (English, 1979) and completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, 1991 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Emerson is a professor of English, and Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry at the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She is a contributing editor of the literary magazine Shenandoah. On August 26, 2008, she was appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia, 2008 - 2010, by Governor Timothy M. Kaine.
Emerson's work has been ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Claudia Emerson Poems
It was first dark when the plow turned it up. Unsown, it came fleshless, mud-ruddled, nothing but itself, the tendon's bored eye threading a ponderous needle. And yet the pocked fist
Spring Ice Storm
The forecast had not predicted it, and its beginning, a calming, rumbled dusk and pleasant lightning, she welcomed as harbinger of rain. Then as night came she heard the world
Buying the Painted Turtle
Two boys, not quite men, pretended to let it go only to catch it again and again. And the turtle, equally determined, each time gave its heart to escape them. We were near the base of the old dam where the river became a translucent
I think by now it is time for the second cutting. I imagine the field, the one above the last house we rented, has lain in convalescence long enough. The hawk has taken back the air
Breaking up the House
Every time I go back home, my mother tells me I should begin to think now about what I will and will not want - before something happens and I have to. Each time
Bells sound them from sleep, and their imaginations rise, recite all they have been told: the curtains of fire, the beds, nightgowns, their hair, their hair. They've practiced this escape before
The camera is trained on the door, no one in the frame, only the dog sleeping. And then finally, I see this was to surprise you, filming your arrival, the dog's delight. Only now,
Animal Funerals, 1964
That summer, we did not simply walk through the valley of the shadow of death; we set up camp there, orchestrating funerals for the anonymous, found dead: a drowned mole—its small, naked palms
Second Bearing 1919
I have asked him to tell it—how he heard the curing barn took hours to burn, the logs thick, accustomed to heat—how, even when it was clear all
How she must have dreaded us and our sweaty coins, more than we hated practice, the lessons, scales, the winter-hot parlor, her arthritic hands, the metronome’s awful tick. She lectured
She had been a late and only child to parents already old and set; none of us had ever wanted to go inside that hushed house and play with her, her room too neat, doll-crowded.
We didn't know what woke us—just something moving, lighter than our breathing. The world bound by an icy ligature, our house was to the bat a hollow, warmer cavity
After the Affair
There was no one to tell, so it settled in the lines of the house, in doorframes, ceilings, sills. In the late afternoons that followed, she heard what could have been someone knocking; a cardinal
Some of your buddies might come around for a couple of beers and a game, but most evenings, you pitched horseshoes alone. I washed up the dishes
Comments about Claudia Emerson
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
It was first dark when the plow turned it up.
Unsown, it came fleshless, mud-ruddled, nothing
but itself, the tendon's bored eye threading
a ponderous needle. And yet the pocked fist
of one end dared what was undone
in the strewing, defied the mouth of the hound
that dropped it.
The whippoorwill began
again its dusk-borne mourning. I had never
seen what urgent wing disembodied
the voice, would fail to recognize its broken
shell or shadow or its feathers strewn
before me. As if afraid of forgetting,
it repeated itself, mindlessly certain.