Claudia Emerson

(13 January 1957 / Chatham, Virginia)

Biography of Claudia Emerson

Claudia Emerson poet

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 included in such anthologies as Yellow Shoe Poets, The Made Thing, Strongly Spent: 50 Years of Shenandoah Poetry (Shenandoah, 2003), and Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia, (University of Virginia Press, 2003).

Emerson lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia with her husband, Kent Ippolito, a musician who plays with various types of bands, including bluegrass, rock, folk, jazz, blues and ragtime. The couple were married in 2000 and together write songs and perform. Emerson was Guest Editor of Visions-International (published by Black Buzzard Press) in 2002.


The Association of Writers and Writing Programs Intro Award, 1991
Academy of American Poets Prize, 1991
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1994 (As Claudia Emerson Andrews)
Virginia Commission for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, 1995 and 2002
University of Mary Washington Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Award, 2003
Witter Bynner Fellowship from Library of Congress, 2005
Poet Laureate of Virginia 2008 - 2010
Library of Virginia Virginia Women in History, 2009
Guggenheim Fellowship, 2011

Claudia Emerson's Works:

Pharaoh, Pharaoh, LSU Press, 1997 (as Claudia Emerson Andrews)
Pinion, An Elegy. LSU Press. 2002
Late Wife: Poems. LSU Press. 2005
Figure Studies: Poems. LSU Press. 2008

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One rusty horseshoe hangs on a nail
above the door, still losing its luck,
and a work-collar swings, an empty
old noose. The silence waits, wild to be
broken by hoofbeat and heavy
harness slap, will founder but remain;
while, outside, above the stable,
eight, nine, now ten buzzards swing low
in lazy loops, a loose black warp

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