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Posted by: ilza (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 18, 2006 09:18AM

Claudia Emerson
for 'Late wife'

comments ? anyone familiar with ?


Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 18, 2006 11:51AM

Not me, but here is some of here stuff to peruse:

[] />
[] />
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Looks like you can hear her reading Late Wife here, but the 26 meg download was too daunting for me to sample it.

[] />
Those with cable internet connections will likely scoff at my reticence, sure.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 18, 2006 01:06PM

scoff at my, not really

26 megs of anything is too much

"A 6-hour opera? I don't even like to have sex and eat bacon for 6 hours"
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - The Musical

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 19, 2006 01:22AM

---Claudia Emerson

I think by now it is time for the second cutting.
I imagine the field, the one above the last

house we rented, has lain in convalescence
long enough. The hawk has taken back the air

above new grass, and the doe again can hide
her young. I can tell you now I crossed

that field, weeks before the first pass of the blade,
through grass and briars, fog — the night itself

to my thighs, my skirt pulled up that high.
I came to what had been our house and stood outside.

I saw her in it. She reminded me of me —
with her hair black and long as mine had been —

as she moved in and then away from the sharp
frame the window made of the darkness.

I confess that last house was the coldest
I kept. In it, I became formless as fog, crossing

the walls, formless as your breath as it rose
from your mouth to disappear in the air above you.

You see, aftermath is easier, opening
again the wound along its numb scar; it is the sentence

spoken the second time — truer, perhaps,
with the blunt edge of a practiced tongue.


Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 19, 2006 01:58AM

Most of you will recognize the mp3 format which allows the computer to stream the program while loading: [] />
The 3 sections of the book are:

A. "Divorce Epistles"
B. "Metaphors of Convalescense, Reconstruction and Recovery"
C. "Sonnets for Kent"

These are powerful poems. Especially those from the 2nd section. It's definitely worth the wait to load on your computer, if indeed your computer is that slow.

Mrs. Emerson has a traditional approach to poetry, in form and format. She has a keen sense of nature and especially "human" nature. Her poems are very self-revealing and far more personal than I'm use to reading by notable authors. Definitely worth checking out, I can understand why she won the prize.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2006 02:03AM by lg.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 19, 2006 01:02PM

So, who is the 'she' mentioned in Aftermath? Ain't the doe, no.

And, what's the form? Couplets in something like blank verse, right, but lots of variations. Could be just free verse, sure, since the couplets don't seem to be complete thoughts within themselves. Line breaks seem well chosen, possibly only intended to be at the end of a full single long breath in some cases.

And, to whom is the poem addressed? Sounds like the speaker broke up with a husband/paramour and the house and new lover remained with him? Is there some resentment there? Or merely nostalgia?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2006 01:26PM by Hugh Clary.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 19, 2006 01:09PM

Luckily, Hugh, Emerson answers your questions about this particular poem on the podcast. She is resentful toward her first husband, hence the first part of her book is called "divorce epistles". The gal she speaks about is his new flame. There is a poem in that first section called "Mirror" in which she protests the fact that this new lover is using HER mirror in HER house with her ex.


For three years you lived in your house
just as it was before she died: your wedding
portrait on the mantel, her clothes hanging
in the closet, her hair still in the brush.
You have told me you gave it all away
then, sold the house, keeping only the confirmation
cross she wore, her name in cursive chased
on the gold underside, your ring in the same
box, those photographs you still avoid,
and the quilt you spread on your borrowed bed—
small things. Months after we met, you told me she had
made it, after we had slept already beneath its loft
and thinning, raveled pattern, as though beneath
her shadow, moving with us, that dark, that soft.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2006 11:52PM by lg.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 19, 2006 11:47PM

Here's an example of her keen insight into nature. The poem shows her knack for using metaphor to bring new light to a common object.

---Claudia Emerson

One rusty horseshoe hangs on a nail
above the door, still losing its luck,
and a work-collar swings, an empty
old noose. The silence waits, wild to be
broken by hoofbeat and heavy
harness slap, will founder but remain;
while, outside, above the stable,
eight, nine, now ten buzzards swing low
in lazy loops, a loose black warp
of patience, bearing the blank sky
like a pall of wind on mourning
wings. But the bones of this place are
long picked clean. Only the hayrake's
ribs still rise from the rampant grasses.


Frame, an Epistle
---Claudia Emerson

Most of the things you made for me -- blanket-
chest, lapdesk, the armless rocker -- I gave
away to friends who could use them and not
be reminded of the hours lost there,
not having been witness to those designs,
the tedious finishes. But I did keep
the mirror, perhaps because like all mirrors,
most of these years it has been invisible,
part of the wall, or defined by reflection --
safe -- because reflection, after all, does change.
I hung it here in the front, dark hallway
of this house you will never see, so that
it might magnify the meager light,
become a lesser, backward window. No one
pauses long before it. But this morning,
as I put on my overcoat, then straightened
my hair, I saw outside my face its frame
you made for me, admiring for the first
time the way the cherry you cut and planed
yourself had darkened, just as you said it would.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2006 12:11AM by lg.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 20, 2006 12:01AM

Claudia Emerson

for my father

I have asked him to tell it—how
he heard the curing barn took hours

to burn, the logs thick, accustomed
to heat—how, even when it was clear all

was lost, the barn and the tobacco
fields within it, they threw water

instead on the nearby peach tree,
intent on saving something, sure,

though, the heat had killed it, the bark
charred black. But in late fall, the tree

broke into bloom, perhaps having
misunderstood the fire to be

some brief, backward winter. Blossoms
whitened, opened. Peaches appeared

against the season—an answer,
an argument. Word carried. People

claimed the fruit was sweeter for being
out of time. They rode miles to see it.

He remembers my grandfather
saying, his mouth full, this is

a sign, and the one my father
was given to eat—the down the same,

soft as any other, inside
the color of cream, juice clear

as water, but wait, wait; he holds
his cupped hand up as though for me

to see again there is no seed,
no pit to come to—that it is

infertile, and endless somehow.


Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2006 12:06AM by lg.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 20, 2006 12:25AM

Beginning Sculpture: The Subtractive Method
---Claudia Emerson

The girls sit before the assignment—identical
blocks of salt—and from tall, precarious stools,

look down into blank planes of possibility. In the end,
though, the only choice is to carve something

smaller. So they begin. Rough chunks like hail
fall before the rasps and chisels' beveled

edges. Salt permeates this air as it has
for years, the floor gritty, their hands, eyes,

even the skylights made opaque with it—
disappearing not unlike the way it is

subtracted from similar blocks, in the fields,
before the tongues of the horses.


Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: Talia (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 20, 2006 09:00AM

Withour knowing this man that she writes about I find myslef not caring about what she writes about. Ted Hughes already did this with "Birthday Letters" but it was much more interesting when he did it because his wife was Syliva Plath! I think she is a good poet, but I want to think the Pulitzer is a loftier prize than that. But then again, maybe there just wasn't any better.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 20, 2006 09:44AM

Do they "have to" give it to someone? Like the Oscars?

Is it the Nobel that they sometimes don't give out in certain categories?

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 20, 2006 11:38AM

Talia, I felt the same way about the first part of the book as she described it, but it is the second section that really opens one's eyes. Listen to the podcast all the way through, I think that you might see her work in a different light.

You are right, Johnny, the Nobel is not always given out, if the committee feels there are no worthy recipients. [] />

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2006 12:22PM by lg.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 20, 2006 01:53PM

Thanks Les, I thought it might have been.

also the Nobel money doesnt have to have tax paid on it ! at least in the US.

Probably not the Pulitzer money

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 20, 2006 02:01PM

I think she is a good poet, but I want to think the Pulitzer is a loftier prize than that.

I once thought it would be a good idea to read all old Pulitzer-prize-winning novels, figuring they just had to be of great interest. Sadly, I had to abandon that project when the first dozen or so bored me comatose. I tried the same thing with winners of poetry, with identical results.

I have had better luck with bestseller lists, but I still don't seem to enjoy a large percentage of those either:

[] />
Louis L'Amour, for example. I have yet to be able to even get a third of the way through any of his. Yeah, Tom Clancy as well, I confess. Too many words; too little substance. I am reading a lot of Carl Hiassen's stuff lately, which is consistently intriguing. Michaell Connelly is good, except the bad guys become predictable. I have read almost all of Michael Crichton, always a good read.

Anyway, back to Claudia E. She seems to me to have a great deal of insight into the matters she writes about. Good imagery, carries me along with her well. New perspectives on common fodder. For example,

a work-collar swings, an empty
old noose.

Delightful! The horse is daily hanged by the forced chores on the farm/ranch.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 20, 2006 02:31PM

I mostly only read comic books so what the hell do I know.

Without being denigrating, I'd sum her up as saying she's pretty good if you like that sort of thing

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 20, 2006 02:48PM

Hugh, I envy your ambition. There's no way I could attempt to read all the novels on any list, let alone the pulitzers. But I do try at least to acquaint myself with some of the works of each author in the poetry category, so that I might recognize their style and approach. Here's a list of Pulitzer prize winners in Poetry if anyone is interested in finding out what others feel is noteworthy: [] />

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/21/2006 02:59AM by lg.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: Talia (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 20, 2006 10:33PM

I'm too busy reading all the novels on my syllabus.

Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: April 20, 2006 10:40PM

I'm too busy reading all the novels on my syllabus.

Ahhh, the tribulations of being a student. All that reading will put you in good stead someday though. Stick to it.

Meanwhile, I'm gazing at this list of Pulitzer prize winners thinking: "Damn, there's a lot I don't know!"


Re: Pulitzer
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: April 20, 2006 10:42PM

The novels on the syllabus go round and round

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