Though she received the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for a collection of deeply personal poems, one of Claudia Emerson’s finest gifts was for inhabiting the voices of others, creating essentially a Spoon RiverAnthology for rural Virginia.
Poetry is broken language. Even in its “prose” incarnations—proems, prose poems—when lineation is not formally observed, poetry works the break. It interrupts, truncates, burglarizes. Poetry ruptures and ameliorates.
Perhaps it is the matter of going outwhich bothers me. That you or I
or someone we know will have to get up,wearing only the warmth of the memory
of our clothes, and find an airy socketin the car-fumed street. They say
it is possible, for those wh [...]