In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Director MaryKatherine Callaway writes about Late Wife.
Different poems appeal to different readers, and our diverse poetry list offers everyone a range of styles, forms, subject matter, and voices. But occasionally poems come along that seem to resonate with readers universally, and Late Wife by Claudia Emerson is one such collection. Intense, funny, mystical, and always wise—Emerson’s much admired and appreciated poems have garnered broad praise, including the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.
We so enjoyed witnessing her receive this honor: the luncheon in the august library at Columbia University in New York, the thrill when she was awarded the prize, and the delight of Claudia’s beaming smile throughout that day.
Happily, she visited Baton Rouge soon after the Pulitzer event and read from this remarkable and often-lauded book. Her words soared out across the audience that night, and when she finished there was a beat of silence–as listeners sat awed and spellbound–before the rapturous applause began.
Every day, we miss this gifted poet, who passed away in December 2014, but we are fortunate to have her collections to pore over, and we still hear her poetic voice on page. Late Wife will continue to offer its gifts to readers for generations to come.
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