poem index


Claudia Emerson

1957- , Chatham , United States
Claudia Emerson

On January 13, 1957, Claudia Emerson was born in Chatham, Virginia.

Her books of poetry include, Secure the Shadow (2012); Figure Studies: Poems (2008); Pinion: An Elegy (2002); and Pharaoh, Pharaoh (1997).

About her work, poet and critic David Rigsbee writes: "Something claimed ‘in the ear’—a phrase with a Rilkean echo—returns us to the fine way Emerson's poems deliver fidelity and exactitude of detail, the image, often nested or interwoven, of things passing from one state to another. It is a hallmark of her work, and it has the feel of work, as if she were offering up something real to the unreal and uncanny situations that are the occasions of the strongest poems here."

Among her many honors are the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, which she received in 2006 for her book Late Wife (Louisiana State University Press, 2005). She has also received fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She was the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2008 to 2010.


She is currently professor of English and Arrington Distinguished Chair of Poetry at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

by this poet



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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


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