blackbirdonline journalSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
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Poetic Principles: An Evening with the Poetry of Claudia Emerson
captured October 27, 2015 at The Library of Virginia

Photo by Library of Virginia
 Photo by Library of Virginia 
 (front row) Debra Nystrom, Deborah Greger, Betty Adcock, David Wojahn
 (back row) Ellen Bryant Voigt, Kent Ippolito, William Logan, Dave Smith

On October 27, 2015, the Library of Virginia and Blackbird hosted “Poetic Principles: An Evening with the Poetry of Claudia Emerson.” The six people who read are not only celebrated poets in their own right but were also friends of Emerson. The reading selections were culled from Emerson’s body of work, and the event extolled her most recent book, the posthumous Impossible Bottle.  

Betty Adcock is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently the chapbook Widow Poems (Jacar Press, 2014), Slantwise: Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2008), and Intervale: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2001). Adcock taught for ten years at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and for 23 years at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Debora Greger has published eight books of poetry, including Men, Women, and Ghosts (Penguin Books, 2008), Western Art (Penguin Poets, 2004), God (Penguin Poets, 2001),and Desert Fathers, Uranium Daughters (Penguin Books, 1996). She has taught poetry at California State University, Chico, and the University of Florida.

Kent Ippolito is a technical designer and musician. He was married to Claudia Emerson for fourteen years. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

William Logan is the author of ten books of poetry, including Madame X (Penguin Poets, 2012) and Deception Island (Salt Publishing, 2011). He is the author of six books of criticism, including Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure (Columbia University Press, 2014), Our Savage Art: Poetry and the Civil Tongue (Columbia University Press, 2009), Certain Solitudes (University of Arkansas Press, 2007), and The Undiscovered Country: Poetry in the Age of Tin (Columbia University Press, 2005). He is a professor of English at the University of Florida.

Debra Nystrom’s most recent collection, Night Sky Frequencies, was published by Sheep Meadow Press in 2016. She is the author of three additional collections of poetry, Bad River Road (Sarabande Books, 2009), Torn Sky (Sarabande Books, 2003), and A Quarter Turn (Sheep Meadow Press, 1991). She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Virginia.

Dave Smith is a poet, essayist and writer of fiction. His most recent books include the essay collection Afield: Writers on Bird Dogs (Skyhorse Press, 2010); which Smith edited with Robert J. DeMott, and Hunting Men: Reflections on a Life in American Poetry (Louisiana State University Press, 2006). He is the author of two poetry collections from Louisiana State University Press: Hawks on Wires (2011)and Little Boats, Unsalvaged (2005). Smith retired as the Elliot Coleman Professor of Poetry in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and is a visiting professor of English at the University of Mississippi.

Ellen Bryant Voigt is the author of eight collections of poetry from W.W. Norton & Co., including Headwaters (2013); Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976–2006 (2007), which won the 2009 Poets’ Prize and was a finalist for both the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the 2007 National Book Award in Poetry; Shadow of Heaven (2002), a 2002 National Book Award finalist; and Kyrie (1995), a 1995 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. She is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers, and is a 2015 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship.

David Wojahn’s eighth collection, World Tree, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in the spring of 2011. His previous collection, Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982–2004 (University of Pittsburgh, 2006), was a named finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the O.B. Hardison Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library. Wojahn teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and at Vermont College of the Fine Arts.

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