September 24, 2012

Securing the Shadow, Finding the Words

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Claudia Emerson, the 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet of Late Wife, was introduced by her former student Prof. Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, English, at Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium Thursday afternoon. Van Clief-Stefanon described Emerson as one of her “favorite people in the world,”  “smart, joyful, open, quick to laugh and quick to share.” Emerson helped Van Clief-Stefanon cope with the sexual assault she experienced in her freshman year of college and release her pain through art. This was the tone of the reading — full-disclosure. Nothing was off-limits, and Van Clief-Stefanon thanked Emerson for creating a safe space for her when she was coming into her own as an artist. She referred to her as, quite simply, “a real poet” who is providing the key service of a “Southern narrative relevant to the world at large.”

Original Author: Kaitlyn Tiffany

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