National Poetry Month – Claudia Emerson

I know that a lot of readers of Regular Rumination come here for poetry recommendations on Wednesdays (I hope!), but today for National Poetry Month I have an extra suggestion for you!  The poet I want to feature today is Claudia Emerson.  I’ve told you in the past how I come across the poems and poets I want to feature on my blog, and I’ve told you that I have a few favorites to share, and Claudia Emerson is one of them.  She won the Pultizer in 2006 and is the Poet Laureate of Virginia.

One thing I love about poetry is that a lot of what is published out there is available online.  Unlike a novel, you can read full poems in a variety of places around the internet.  You can read a little bit or you can read a lot, without leaving the comfort of your computer chair or spending a lot of money.  I think it’s a wonderful thing and really I have no excuse for not reading more of it.  I’d like to point you to a couple places where you can read Claudia Emerson’s poetry online, but you really can’t go wrong with any of her books.  I have read some of them and they are absolutely amazing.

You can read four of her poems at Verse Daily, PBS has an excellent interview with her after she wont he Pultizer, including a really beautiful poem entitled “Artifact”.  There are also three more of her poems to read on PBS’s Poetry Series website.  Poet’s Spotlight, featuring five poems.

As someone who writes poetry, I feel as though I can’t escape the things I write about and I end up writing the same poem over and over again, just in a different shape.  Looking at it from my perspective, it gets pretty boring.  So I am forever awed by the incredible variety of topics and shapes that Claudia Emerson’s poetry takes.  Her book Pinion: An Elegy is a book-length poem from the perspective of one woman named Rose.  Late Wife, the Pulitzer Prize winning collection, is a series of poems to and about her first husband and her second husband.  PBS’s interview addresses this book specifically, but it deals with the love and loss of her first marriage in divorce and her second husband’s late wife.  Her newest collection of poetry is Figure Studies, a collection of poems in three parts.  “All Girls School” is about a fictional girl’s boarding school, “Gossips” is a series of poems voiced by women about other women, and finally, “Early Lessons” is narrated by children about the older women they observe.

As my professor, mentor and friend, Claudia Emerson has influenced me greatly as a poet and a person.  I hope that you will take the time out of your day for National Poetry Month to read one of the poems I have linked to here.  They are unforgettable poems that have meant a lot to me as a reader and a writer of poems.  Enjoy!

Thank you to Serena of Saavy Verse and Wit for organizing the National Poetry Month Blog Tour!  Yesterday’s stop was at Diary of an Eccentric and tomorrow’s stop is at Indextrious Reader.

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16 thoughts on “National Poetry Month – Claudia Emerson

  1. Great post! I had no idea that Claudia was also your professor. Wonderful. I find that having a professor who is a mentor can be very inspiring for a poet. I’m going to check out these poems you’ve linked to and probably pick up a copy of her book.

    I will link up your post in Mr. Linky if you haven’t done so, and I will email it to winabook. Thanks so much for participating.

  2. Thanks for the introduction to Claudia’s works. It must have been a good experience having her as a professor. Her “Figure Studies” book seems especially interesting to me!

  3. Great post! I love the idea that you write the same poem over and over again, ‘just in a different shape’. I always say that every story has already been written and it’s the latest storyteller’s job to tell it differently. 🙂

  4. I am anxious to look at her poems. I’ve never heard of Claudia Emerson. You have made me interested in reading her poems.

  5. I’ve read rather quickly some of Claudia Emerson’s poems given to us by you. I like her poems. I felt emotional. I would read more of her poems. Thank you.

  6. I didn’t know much about Claudia Emerson but I read some of her poetry from your links and it is really very good. I have added Late Wife to my Goodreads TBR. Thanks for sharing about her!

  7. I paused and reflected on a few of her poems today, but when I came across Breaking Up the House, a emotional tide hit me. I love how poetry speaks differently to each of us, depending upon our own life circumstances.

  8. What makes poetry so wonderful is the fact that it involves all of life, every concern, every desire, and every feeling. If something has some great significance to a person’s existence, then it has a great significance in poetry as well.

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