Claudia Emerson

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Claudia Emerson
Claudia Emerson2.JPG
Born (1957-01-13)January 13, 1957
Chatham, Virginia, U.S.
Died December 4, 2014(2014-12-04) (aged 57)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Cause of death
Colon cancer
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Virginia
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Occupation Poet, professor
Spouse(s) Kent Ippolito (2000-2014; her death)
Awards Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (2006)
Poet Laureate of Virginia (2008–10)
Guggenheim Fellowship (2011)

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

Early life[edit]

Emerson was born on January 13, 1957 in Chatham, Virginia and graduated from Chatham Hall preparatory school in 1975.[4] 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.[5]

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 five poetry collections through Louisiana State University Press: Pharaoh, Pharaoh (1997), Pinion: An Elegy (2002), Late Wife (2005), Figure Studies: Poems (2008), and Secure the Shadow (2012).[5]

A sixth collection, titled The Opposite House, is set to be released posthumously in March 2015.[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.[5][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]

Awards and honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Emerson married musician Kent Ippolito in 2000. The couple lived in Richmond, Virginia, and performed and wrote songs together.[29] 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.[3][5][19]


Poetry collections[edit]

List of poems[edit]

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
Early elegy : barber 2013 Emerson, Claudia (January 28, 2013). "Early elegy : barber". The New Yorker 88 (45): 36. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 


  1. ^ "Claudia Emerson profile". Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Claudia Emerson Wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry". PBS NewsHour. 
  3. ^ a b Estes, Lindley (2014), "Distinguished poet, Pulitzer Prize-winner Claudia Emerson dies", The Free Lance-Star, retrieved December 4, 2014 
  4. ^ Ankrom, R. (2008), "Claudia Emerson – Poet-in-Residence ‘08", Chatham Hall, retrieved December 4, 2014 
  5. ^ a b c d "Claudia Emerson", Academy of American Poets, 2014, retrieved December 4, 2014 
  6. ^ "The Opposite House". Website. LSU Press. Retrieved 2014-12-06. 
  7. ^ Yellow Shoe Poets. LSU Press. 1999. ISBN 978-0-8071-2451-2. 
  8. ^ Garrett, George (1999). The Yellow Shoe Poets (CLOTH) (1st ed.). Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. p. 264 pp. ISBN 0-8071-2450-8. 
  9. ^ The Made Thing. The University of Arkansas Press. 1999. ISBN 978-1-55728-579-9. 
  10. ^ Stokesbury, Leon (1999). The Made Thing (CLOTH) (2nd ed.). Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press. p. 352 pp. ISBN 1-55728-578-0. 
  11. ^ Strongly Spent: 50 Years of Shenandoah Poetry,; accessed December 4, 2014.
  12. ^ Kennedy, Sarah (September 2003). Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia (CLOTH) (1st ed.). Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press. ISBN 0-8139-2222-4. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Literary Review staff". Website. Washington and Lee University. Retrieved 2006-04-07. 
  14. ^ a b "Virginia". 
  15. ^ "Poets Laureate of Virginia". , Poetry Society of Virginia; accessed December 6, 2014
  16. ^ Emerson profile,; accessed December 4, 2014.
  17. ^ a b c d e "UMW's Claudia Emerson wins Pulitzer in Poetry" (Press release). University of Mary Washington. April 17, 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-27. 
  18. ^ "VCU Adds Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet to English Faculty" (Press release). Virginia Commonwealth University. June 20, 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-06. 
  19. ^ a b Reid, Zachary (2014), "Claudia Emerson, Pulitzer-winning poet, dies at 57", Richmond Times-Dispatch, retrieved December 4, 2014 
  20. ^ 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. Retrieved 2006-04-27. 
  21. ^ Emerson, Claudia (December 4, 2014). "Second Bearing, 1919". Smartish Pace. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Witter Bynner Fellowships". Website. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2006-04-07. 
  23. ^ "The 2006 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Poetry". Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  24. ^ The Poetry Society of Virginia official website
  25. ^ "Virginia Women in History: Claudia Emerson". Library of Virginia. 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Awards". Fellowship of Southern Writers. 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Claudia Emerson: 2011 - US & Canada Competition -Creative Arts - Poetry". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2014. 
  28. ^ 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. 
  29. ^ "Fredericksburg Songwriters' Showcase". Website. Retrieved 2006-12-19. 
  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 (CLOTH) (1st ed.). Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-3361-3. 
  33. ^ Emerson, Claudia (February 2012). Secure the Shadow (CLOTH) (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. 

External links[edit]