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.
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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
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
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.
For three years you lived in your house just as it was before she died: your wedding portrait on the mantel, her clothes hanging in the closet, her hair still in the brush
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
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,
I sent you a list of what I wanted, and you boxed it up carelessly, as though for the backs of strangers, or for the fire, the way you might have handled a dead woman's possessions—when you
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
The household sells in a morning, but when they cannot let the house itself go for the near-nothing it brings at auction, the children, all beyond their middle years,
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
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
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
Beginning Sculpture: The Subtractive Met...
The girls sit before the assignment—identical blocks of salt—and from tall, precarious stools, look down into blank planes of possibility. In the end, though, the only choice is to carve something
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)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
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.