Claudia Emerson, 1957-2014
We would not be celebrating our Teen Poetry Contest if not for the help and guidance of Claudia Emerson, a former professor at the University of Mary Washington and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, who also served as Virginia's Poet Laureate. She judged the Teen Poetry Contest and hosted Teen Poetry Night from its inception, encouraging countless young poets and gently shaping the event as it grew to over 300 entries. Before each winning poem was read, Claudia shared what it was about that poem the moved her. Her goal was to empower the young poets, and her comments showed the depth of thought and attention she had given their works. Claudia's talent as a poet was equaled by her generosity of spirit and passion for developing young poets.