Claudia Emerson, 57, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, died Thursday after a long battle with cancer, the university said.

Ms. Emerson, a native of Chatham, Va., won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book Late Wife, a collection of handwritten letters reflecting on her failed marriage of 19 years and her blossoming relationship with her second husband, Kent Ippolito. For three years, Ms. Emerson took the letters - never mailed - and taped them to the walls of her home and office.

In an AP interview after she won the prize, Ms. Emerson said the letters to her ex-husband were not those of a vengeful ex-wife. "I don't think they'd be very good if they had been sharply written," she said. "I think it is sad when a marriage dissolves, even if it wasn't the happiest one."

Ms. Emerson was named Virginia's poet laureate in 2008, an honorary two-year post, by then-Gov. Tim Kaine. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011, the university said, as well as fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, along with two additional Pulitzer Prize nominations. - AP