Born and raised in Chatham, Virginia, Claudia Emerson studied writing at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. In 2008 she was appointed poet laureate of Virginia, a two-year role. Emerson has been poetry editor for the Greensboro Review and a contributing editor for Shenandoah. She has taught at Washington and Lee University, Randolph-Macon Women’s College, and the University of Mary Washington. Emerson’s poetry, steeped in the Southern Narrative tradition, bears the influences of, , and William Faulkner.
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"With a $20,000 prize, I never imagined POL being this much fun. The competitions were more about meeting and talking with the other competitors, having a great time and enjoying the poetry. I also never knew I could find so much in myself just from reciting poems."