Early Elegy: Headmistress

By Claudia Emerson b. 1957 Claudia Emerson
The word itself: prim, retired, its artifact
her portrait above the fireplace, on her face
the boredom she abhorred, then perfected,
her hands held upward—their emptiness
a revision, cigarette and brandy snifter
painted, intolerably, out, to leave her this
lesser gesture: What next? or shrugged Whatever.
From the waist down she was never there.



Source: Poetry (June 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2012
 Claudia  Emerson

Biography

Born and raised in Chatham, Virginia, Claudia Emerson studied writing at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Emerson’s poetry, steeped in the Southern Narrative tradition, bears the influences of Ellen Bryant Voigt, Betty Adcock, and William Faulkner. Of the collection Late Wife (2005), poet Deborah Pope observed, “Like the estranged lover in one of her poems who pitches horseshoes in the dark with preternatural . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, The Body, Activities, Jobs & Working

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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