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  • Insistent Traces

    Claudia Emerson, University of Mary Washington

    26 October 2009
    Claudia Emerson, 2009.
    Claudia Emerson, 2009.

    In a prose introduction and four poems, Claudia Emerson (1957–2014) returns to her native Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to sift the detritus of work, marriage, and residence, evoking lives lived here and voices "turning under my voice, as they broke and turned the earth."

    "Insistent Traces" is part of the Poets in Place series, a Research Collaboration in the Humanities initiative funded through Emory University’s Presidential Woodruff Fund, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost. Series producers are Natasha Trethewey and Allen Tullos.


    Claudia Emerson reads the untitled opening from Pinion: An Elegy. Poem text.
    Claudia Emerson reads the poem "Rent." Poem text.
    Claudia Emerson reads the poem "Aftermath." Poem text.
    Claudia Emerson reads the poem "My Grandmother's Plot in the Family Cemetery." Poem text.
    Claudia Emerson reads the poem "Old Elementary." Poem text.

    About Claudia Emerson

    Claudia Emerson won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for Late Wife. Her books include Figure Studies, Pinion, and Pharoah, Pharoah. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The New England Review, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, TriQuarterly, and Crazyhorse. In 2008 Emerson was named Poet Laureate of Virginia. Her other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Born in Chatham, Virginia, Claudia Emerson is the Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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    Recommended Resources and Selected Writings


    Claudia Emerson, Map of Chatham, Virginia, 2009.

    Published Work in Print

    Andrews, Claudia Emerson. Pharoah, Pharoah. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997.

    Emerson, Claudia. Figure Studies. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008.

    ———. Late Wife. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005.

    ———. Pinion. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002.

    Links and Online Publications

    Blackbird. Texts of Selected Poems.

    Claudia Emerson's author website.

    Cortland Review. Text of "Photographer".

    Online NewsHour. "Claudia Emerson Wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry." 4 May 2006.

    Poetry. Text of "Frame, An Epistle".

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