In 2006 Claudia Emerson won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Late Wife. The deeply personal collection ended with reflections on her second marriage, to Kent Ippolito, a musician who had been widowed by cancer.

This morning, Emerson died from complications due to cancer. She was 57, and a much-loved professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Broad Street’s home.

In this video, Emerson and Ippolito, husband and wife, perform “How’s the World Treating You,” the Louvin Brothers classic of lost love, as a duet, interweaving their voices and their instruments with a profound tenderness that today feels utterly heartbreaking.