Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Lesser Known Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet


Surface Hunting

You always washed artifacts
--------at the kitchen sink, your back
------------------to the room, to me, to the mud

you'd tracked in from whatever
--------neighbor's field had just been plowed.
------------------Spearpoints, birdpoints, awls and leaf-

shaped blades surfaced from the turned earth
--------as though from beneath some thicker
------------------water you tried to see into.

You never tired, you told me, of the tangible
--------past you could admire, turn over
------------------and over in your hand—the first

to touch it since the dead one that had
--------worked the stone. You lined bookshelves
------------------and end tables with them; obsidian,

quartz, flint, they measured the hours you'd spent
--------with your head down, searching for others,
------------------and also the prized hours of my own

solitude—collected, prized,
--------saved alongside those artifacts
------------------that had been for so long lost.

Claudia Emerson is an associate professor of English at Mary Washington College. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and UNC- Greensboro, where she was poetry editor of The Greensboro Review. Her books are Pharaoh, Pharaoh and Pinion: An Elegy, both from LSU, and her work has appeared in The Southern Review, The New England Review and Prairie Schooner. She has been a recipient of literature fellowships from the NEA and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. (She is also a contributing editor for Shenandoah.)


shann said...

she's actually a pretty neat person and a decent poet.

She teaches up the road and reads in Richmond now and again.

Nick said...

No doubts here, Shann.