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Halifax’s poet laureate pens new volume

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Kelly Cherry / March 11, 2013
Kelly Cherry of Halifax, Virginia’s 2011 poet laureate, has released a new award-winning collection of her works, “The Life and Death of Poetry,” that deals with the relation of poetry — “the divine tongue” in her description — to the everyday world.

The book, Cherry’s 21st, is divided into three sections: Learning the Language, Welch Table Talk and the final section, What the Poet Wants to Say.

Cherry, who was born in Baton Rouge, La., grew up in Richmond. In 1999 she retired as Eudora Welty Professor Emerita of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2000 she married fiction writer Burke Davis, III and they found a fixer-upper farmhouse in Halifax County where they have lived for the past 12 years.

“The Life and Death of Poetry” has been named the winner of the 2013 L.E. Phillabaum PoetryAward. The collection is hailed by fellow poet Major Jackson as “unpretentious and stimulating,” “Kelly Cherry makes dedicated listeners of us all,” he adds.

In addition to poetry, Cherry is the author of works of fiction and non-fiction, as well as chapbooks and limited editions and translations of “Antigone” and “Octavia.”

Her new collection is published by Louisiana State University Press and is available for purchase at, Barnes & Noble and with other book sellers.

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