July 12, 2024

Claudia Emerson Receives Posthumous Honor at Library of Virginia Literary Awards

Claudia Emerson, the late Mary Washington professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, received a posthumous poetry award from the Library of Virginia Literary Awards Oct. 19.

Claudia Emerson, the late Mary Washington professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, received a posthumous poetry award from the Library of Virginia Literary Awards Oct. 19.

The late Mary Washington professor Claudia Emerson was posthumously honored at the Library of Virginia Literary Awards on Oct. 19 in Richmond, tying with Michael Chitwood for this year’s Poetry Award prize. According to the judges, Emerson’s book Claude Before Time and Space “displays the final work of a master poet at the height of her craft.”

Emerson was the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2008 to 2010. Among her many honors are the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, which she received in 2006 for her book Late Wife, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. In 2009, Emerson was honored as one of the Library’s Virginia Women in History. She served as poetry editor for the Greensboro Review and contributing editor for Shenandoah. In addition to her 15 years at Mary Washington, she taught at Washington and Lee University, Randolph-Macon College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. She died on December 4, 2014, in Richmond.

A Poet’s Perspective

Pulitzer Prize-winning professor is passionate about poetry and mentoring students.

Claudia Emerson Honored as Woman of Distinction

Arrington Distinguished Chair of Poetry and Professor of English Claudia Emerson was named one of seven “Women of Distinction” of 2012 by the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Emerson received the award during a ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 26. The girl scouting review committee chose the “Women of Distinction” based on their ability to serve as examples of courage, confidence and character. Emerson’s award focused on her accomplishments in culture and communication.

Claudia Emerson Featured in The Paris Review

Claudia Emerson, Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry, is featured in the Tuesday, March 20 edition of The Paris Review. The article, “Two Poets,” retells the author’s encounters with Emerson and includes excerpts from “Secure the Shadow.”

Claudia Emerson Releases New Poetry Collection

Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry Claudia Emerson’s new book “Secure the Shadow” is now available. Her book, published by Louisiana State University Press, is a collection of poetry.

Daringly realistic and artfully mediated by past and present, Claudia Emerson’s Secure the Shadow contains historical pieces as well as poems centering on the deaths of the poet’s brother and father. Emerson covers all aspects of the tragedies that, as Keats believed, contribute to our human collective of Soul-making, in which each death accrues into an immortal web of ongoing love and meaning for the living. Emerson’s unwavering gaze shows that loss cannot be eluded, but can be embraced in elegies as devastating as they are beautiful.

Claudia Emerson Profiled in January Issue of Northern Virginia Magazine

Claudia Emerson, Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry, is featured in the January issue of Northern Virginia Magazine.

The issue is available on newsstands now; the article will be available online at the end of January.

Claudia Emerson to Release New Collection

Claudia Emerson’s latest collection of poetry Secure the Shadow will be released in February 2012 by Louisiana State University Press. The collection contains historical pieces as well as poems centering on the deaths of the poet’s brother and father.

Emerson’s five books include “Late Wife,” winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, “Figure Studies.” Emerson has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Library of Congress and the Guggenheim Foundation. Former poet laureate of Virginia, she holds the Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry at UMW.

Claudia Emerson Publishes Poem in The New Yorker

Claudia Emerson, professor of English and Arrington distinguished chair of poetry, had her poem “Catfish” featured in the October 24th issue of The New Yorker. The poem is below:





It nuzzles oblivion, confuses
itself with mud. A creature

of familiar taste, it ambushes
from its nest of ooze the pond’s

brighter fish, clears its palate
with their eggs, lumbers fat

and stagnant into winter, lulled
into dreams of light sinking until

light drowns, and all is as before.

Claudia Emerson to Read at National Book Festival

Claudia Emerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and English professor at the University of Mary Washington, will read from her work at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival. Emerson’s reading will take place on Saturday, September 24 from 2:35 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The festival is free and open to the public.

Emerson will read from “Pharaoh, Pharaoh,” “Pinion: An Elegy,” “Late Wife” and her latest work, “Figure Studies,” as part of the Poetry & Prose pavilion at the festival. Fellow authors at the pavilion include Michael Cunningham, Dave Eggers and Rita Dove. A book signing session will follow Emerson’s reading from 4 to 5 p.m.

Read the full news release.

Claudia Emerson

Claudia Emerson, English professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, will be inducted into the prestigious Fellowship of Southern Writers during its biennial meeting to be held during the April 14-16 Conference on Southern Literature.

Emerson will be welcomed into the fellowship alongside 11 other distinguished writers including Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller “To Kill a Mockingbird.” As part of Emerson’s induction, she will participate in a panel discussion of revision as an element of the writing process during the conference in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Emerson won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for “Late Wife.” She has written five books of poetry, with a sixth forthcoming. A former Virginia poet laureate who joined the UMW faculty in 1998, she holds the Arrington distinguished chair of poetry at Mary Washington. Emerson received the Donald Justice Award for poetry from the fellowship in 2009.

A highly selective organization that seeks to recognize and encourage literature in the South, the fellowship was founded in 1987 by a group of predominantly male writers that included James Dickey, John Hope Franklin, Walker Percy, Elizabeth Spencer, Robert Penn Warren and Eudora Welty.

New fellows are nominated by current members and elected by majority vote. Fellows are writers of fiction, poetry, drama, criticism and history. Most members have been fiction writers because of the powerhouse world of Southern fiction writing. However, Emerson said that is slowly changing. “As a female poet, it was harder to get in,” she said.

Members aren’t separated by their style of writing, so new ones are judged against all other Southern writers and editors, regardless of genre, Emerson said. “I’m very excited to see fellow writers and colleagues who are already in it and who are being inducted into it now,” Emerson said. “They don’t limit to creative writers necessarily.”

To be considered for membership, a writer must have been born and raised or have resided for a significant part of his or her life in the South, or have written works that in character and spirit embody aspects of the Southern experience.

Emerson said members also include historians, editors, biographers and critics, which is a unique trait for the fellowship. “It’s sort of a broader consideration of what it is to be a ‘writer’,” she said. “I’m excited and honored and always interested in being a part of something that’s trying to promote good writing.”

Emerson also is excited about attending the conference, where she will interact with many writers whom she admires. “I imagine there will be a couple of good parties where you can put on your party dress and meet people you’ve admired forever,” she said.

The fellowship holds its biennial meetings during the Chattanooga Arts & Education Council Conference on Southern Literature in Chattanooga, where the fellowship’s archives are held at the University of Tennessee Lupton Library. At their meeting, the fellows elect new members, bestow awards on established and emerging writers, and deliver readings and lectures.