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Claudia Emerson, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Virginia Poet, Dies at 57

By    |   Friday, 05 Dec 2014 10:29 AM

Claudia Emerson, the former Poet Laureate of Virginia and 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning writer honored for her "Late Wife" collection, died of cancer on Thursday morning. She was 57.

"Claudia's passing will not only be difficult for her family, friends, current and former students, and colleagues, but I am saddened to think of the countless students who could have otherwise been transformed as people and as writers by her passion for teaching the art of poetry," said Jim Coleman, dean of Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Humanities and Sciences, which Emerson joined last year.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that before joining VCU, Emerson taught at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg beginning in 1994.

"I never knew what the soul of a poet was until I knew Claudia," former state Sen. Charles R. Hawkins told the Times-Dispatch. He had known Emerson since her childhood in her native Chatham. "She was a loving soul, a creative mind and had the ability to express herself in ways not many of us can. This has hit us really hard down here."

The Poetry Foundation wrote of Emerson that her writing is "steeped in the Southern Narrative tradition, bear[ing] the influences of Ellen Bryant Voigt, Betty Adcock, and William Faulkner," reported Fredericksburg.com.

In addition to being published in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, Poetry magazine, and New England Review, Emerson also won a Guggenheim fellowship in 2011, and used it to travel to Italy for a poetry project.

Emerson's husband, Harry Kent Ippolito, said that his wife had been battling colon cancer.

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Claudia Emerson, the former Poet Laureate of Virginia and 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning writer honored for her "Late Wife" collection, died of cancer on Thursday morning. She was 57.
claudia emerson, pulitzer, poet, dies
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2014-29-05
Friday, 05 Dec 2014 10:29 AM
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