Claudia Emerson

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Claudia Emerson
Claudia Emerson2.JPG
Born(1957-01-13)January 13, 1957
DiedDecember 4, 2014(2014-12-04) (aged 57)
Alma mater University of Virginia
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
OccupationPoet, professor
Kent Ippolito
(m. 2000)
Awards Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (2006)
Poet Laureate of Virginia (2008–10)
Guggenheim Fellowship (2011)

Claudia Emerson (January 13, 1957 – December 4, 2014) [1] was an American poet. She won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection Late Wife, [2] [3] and was named the Poet Laureate of Virginia by Governor Tim Kaine in 2008. [4]


Early life

Emerson was born on January 13, 1957 in Chatham, Virginia, and graduated from Chatham Hall preparatory school in 1975. [5] She received her BA in English from the University of Virginia in 1979 and her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1991. [1]

Virginia Poets Laureate at University of Mary Washington Reunion Day, June 3, 2011. Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda (2006-2008), Claudia Emerson (2008-2010), and Kelly Cherry (2010-2012) 2011 06 03 ~ Carolyn, Claudia, Kelly ~ MaryWashingtonU.jpg
Virginia Poets Laureate at University of Mary Washington Reunion Day, June 3, 2011. Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda (2006–2008), Claudia Emerson (2008–2010), and Kelly Cherry (2010–2012)


Emerson published eight poetry collections through Louisiana State University Press's Southern Messenger Poets series: Pharaoh, Pharaoh (1997), Pinion: An Elegy (2002), Late Wife (2005), Figure Studies: Poems (2008), Secure the Shadow (2012), Impossible Bottle (2015), The Opposite House (2015) and Claude before Time and Space (2018). [1]

Three collections were published posthumously, The Opposite House (March 2015), Impossible Bottle (September 2015) and Claude before Time and Space (February 2018). [6]

In addition to her collections, Emerson's work has been included in such anthologies as Yellow Shoe Poets, [7] [8] The Made Thing, [9] [10] Strongly Spent: 50 Years of Shenandoah Poetry, [11] and Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia. [12]

Emerson served as poetry editor for the Greensboro Review and a contributing editor for the literary magazine Shenandoah . [1] [13] In 2002, Emerson was Guest Editor of Visions-International (published by Black Buzzard Press).[ citation needed ] On August 26, 2008, she was appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia, by then Governor Timothy M. Kaine [14] and served until 2010. [15] In 2008, she returned to Chatham Hall to serve as The Siragusa Foundation's Poet-in-Residence. [16]

She taught at several colleges including Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. She spent over a decade at the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, as an English professor and the Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry. [17]

In 2013, Emerson joined the creative writing faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, where she taught until her death in 2014 from colon cancer at age 57. [18] [19]

Personal life

Emerson married musician Kent Ippolito in 2000. The couple lived in Richmond, Virginia, and performed and wrote songs together. [20] After missing most of the Fall 2014 semester while seeking cancer treatments, Claudia Emerson died on December 4, 2014, in Richmond at the age of 57 from complications associated with colon cancer. [4] [1] [19]

Awards and honors


Poetry collections

List of poems

TitleYearFirst publishedReprinted/collected
Early elegy : barber2013Emerson, Claudia (January 28, 2013). "Early elegy : barber". The New Yorker . 88 (45): 36. Retrieved April 8, 2015.

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  10. Stokesbury, Leon (1999). The Made Thing (Cloth) (2nd ed.). Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press. p.  352 pp. ISBN   1-55728-578-0.
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  12. Kennedy, Sarah (September 2003). Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia (1st ed.). Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press. ISBN   0-8139-2222-4. Archived from the original (Cloth) on September 28, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  13. "Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Literary Review staff". Website. Washington and Lee University. Retrieved April 7, 2006.
  14. 1 2 "Virginia".
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  16. Emerson profile Archived December 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine ,; accessed December 4, 2014.
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  18. "VCU Adds Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet to English Faculty" (Press release). Virginia Commonwealth University. June 20, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  19. 1 2 Reid, Zachary (2014), "Claudia Emerson, Pulitzer-winning poet, dies at 57", Richmond Times-Dispatch, retrieved December 4, 2014
  20. "Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase". Website. Retrieved December 19, 2006.
  21. Stolls, Amy; David Kipen; Jon Peede; Paulette Beete; Campbell Irving; Pamela Kirkpatrick; Garrick Davis (2006). NEA Literature Fellowships: 40 Years of Supporting American Writers (PDF). Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 10, 2009. Retrieved April 27, 2006.
  22. Emerson, Claudia (December 4, 2014). "Second Bearing, 1919". Smartish Pace. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
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  29. Brady, H. (March 21, 2011). "Claudia Emerson to Be Inducted into Fellowship of Southern Writers". Media and Public Relations. University of Mary Washington. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  30. Emerson, Claudia (2002). Pinion: An Elegy (Cloth) (1st ed.). Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. p. 55 pp. ISBN   0-8071-2765-5.
  31. Emerson, Claudia (September 30, 2005). The Late Wife (Cloth) (1st ed.). Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. p. 54 pp. ISBN   0-8071-3083-4.
  32. Emerson, Claudia (September 2008). Figure Studies (1st ed.). Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. ISBN   978-0-8071-3361-3.
  33. Emerson, Claudia (February 2012). Secure the Shadow (1st ed.). Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. ISBN   978-0-8071-4303-2.
  34. Emerson, Claudia (March 2015). The Opposite House (1st ed.). Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. ISBN   978-0-8071-5848-7.
  35. Emerson, Claudia (September 2015). Impossible Bottle (1st ed.). Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. ISBN   978-0-8071-6083-1.