Claudia Emerson Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Claudia Emerson is known principally for her poetry.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Claudia Emerson’s poetry, with its rich evocation of life in the rural South, has received favorable critical attention since the publication of her first book, Pharaoh, Pharaoh. She received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1994) and the Virginia Commission for the Arts (1995). She won an award from Associated Writing Programs in 1997. That same year, Pharaoh, Pharaoh was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by Louisiana State University Press, which would continue to publish her work in its Southern Messenger Poets series. In 2005, she was selected by poet laureate Ted Kooser to receive a Witter Bynner Fellowship. Her Late Wife earned the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for 2006. She was named poet laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2008 and received the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize in 2007 and the Donald Justice Award for Poetry in 2009.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Emerson, Claudia. “Claudia Emerson.” http:// claudia The official Web site for Emerson contains a short biography, description of her books, information on readings and classes, and links to other sites.

_______. “An Interview with Claudia Emerson.” Interview by Sarah Kennedy. Shenandoah 56, no. 3 (Winter, 2006): 27-37. Emerson offers detailed discussion about her craft, with reference to several poems from Pinion and Late Wife.

Emerson, Claudia, and Warren Rochell. “Stories (and Poems) Live in My Head: An Interview with Claudia Emerson and Warren Rochell.” Interview by Tom H. Ray. Virginia Libraries 54, nos. 3, 4(July-September, October-December, 2008): 40-44. Emerson discusses her life as a teaching poet.

Gates, David. “Heroine by a Hairbreadth: Before the Pulitzer, Her Book Was a Goner—It’s Back.” Newsweek, June 12, 2006, 76. Describes the difficulty in finding works of poetry, including Emerson’s Late Wife, unless they win a prize. Notes that readers are probably missing works worth reading, like Emerson’s.

Lacy, Bridgette A. “Poet of Heartbreak and Healing.” News and Observer, June 2, 2006, p. E1. Lacy provides background on the poet and some poetic analysis in preparation for a reading Emerson gave at a local bookstore.

Logan, William. “Shock and Awe.” New Criterion 27 (December, 2008): 36. Logan reviews multiple works of poetry, including Emerson’s Figure Studies. He praises Emerson’s work and calls it deserving of more attention, although he also labels it as slightly prissy.

Milne, Ira Mark, ed. Poetry for Students. Vol. 27. Detroit: Thomson/Gale Group, 2008. Contains an analysis of Emerson’s “My Grandmother’s Plot in the Family Cemetery.”