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Late Wife


Southern Messenger Poets

64 pages / 5.50 x 9.00 inches / None

ebook available


  Hardcover / 9780807130834 / September 2005
  Paperback / 9780807130841 / September 2005

Winner of the The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

In Late Wife, a woman explores her disappearance from one life and reappearance in another as she addresses her former husband, herself, and her new husband in a series of epistolary poems. Though not satisfied in her first marriage, she laments vanishing from the life she and her husband shared for years. She then describes the unexpected joys of solitude during her recovery and emotional convalescence. Finally, in a sequence of sonnets, she speaks to her new husband, whose first wife died from lung cancer. The poems highlight how the speaker's rebeginning in this relationship has come about in part because of two couples' respective losses.

The most personal of Claudia Emerson's poetry collections, Late Wife is both an elegy and a celebration of a rich present informed by a complex past.

Claudia Emerson has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Library of Congress, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2006, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Late Wife. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she is the former Poet Laureate of Virginia and a professor of English and creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

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