May 24, 2024

Foss Presents Paper Celebrating the Work of Claudia Emerson

On Nov. 13, Professor of English Chris Foss presented a paper titled “‘The body’s own account’: Disease, Disability, Death and the Argument for Life in the Poetry of Claudia Emerson” at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association annual convention in Durham, N.C.  The paper celebrates Claudia’s unflinching consideration of disease, disability and death in her most recently published book, Impossible Bottle, a work throughout which Claudia consistently refuses to airbrush the experience of pain and suffering while simultaneously refusing to succumb to despair.

Indeed, Impossible Bottle powerfully testifies to the meaningfulness and the value of all lives touched by disease, disability and death.  Ultimately, Claudia discards any vision of some sort of final disconsolate decline in the face of a dogged disease like cancer, or some sort of defeatist surrender to a death without dignity, and instead gifts us all with a brilliant argument for life that not only envisions but also enacts a truly compelling embodiment of a heartening resilience that remains elastic, fresh and enlightening.