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Late Wife: Poems (Southern Messenger Poets)by Claudia Emerson
Synopses & Reviews
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's Late Wife tells the story of love lost and redeemed. Her poetry explores the way we attach meaning to things without us and connect them with our inner lives. In her hands heartbreak and healing turn as tangible as the material world she observes with such love and such precision." Mark Jarman
"Like the estranged lover in one of her poems who pitches horseshoes in the dark with preternatural precision, so Emerson sends her words into a different kind of darkness with steely exactness, their arc of perception over and over striking true. With exceptional linguistic and emotional poise, her fine new collection moves from retrospect to prospect, from one love's withering to another's rebirth, from loss not merely tallied but to that rarer arrival: loss weighed, survived, understood." Deborah Pope
"Though they clearly fit into various points along the outline of a story, Emerson's new poems transcend narrative. They are deeply absorbing because their author has brilliantly observed brief but powerful moments, and rendered these miracles of observation with secure craftsmanship." Henry Taylor
About the Author
Claudia Emerson is also the author of the poetry books Pharaoh, Pharaoh and Pinion: An Elegy, both published in Dave Smith's Southern Messenger Poets series. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Southern Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, New England Review, and other journals. The recipient of a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, she is an associate professor of English at University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
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