Clampitt, Amy (1920 - 1994)

Genre: Poetry

Born in New Providence, Iowa, on June 15, 1920, and raised on a 125-acre farm, poet Amy Clampitt, considered one of the most distinguished 20th-century American poets, was a long-time Corea, Maine, summer visitor. A number of her poems contain subjects and images influenced by the area's natural beauty.

Clampitt earned a B.A. at Grinnell College (with honors, 1941) and also studied at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research. She worked at Oxford University Press from 1943 to 1951 as secretary and writer, as reference librarian at the National Audubon Society (1952 to 1959), and as a freelance writer, editor, and researcher during the 1960s and 1970s, then spent five years (1977 to 1982) as an editor at E. P. Dutton.

She first attempted to write novels and then turned to poetry in the 1960s. In 1978 her work appeared for the first time in the New Yorker.

In addition to being a noted poet, Clampitt was also a well-respected teacher. She was a College of William & Mary writer-in-residence, Amherst College visiting writer and also a visiting writer at Smith College. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and she was a MacArthur Prize Fellow in 1992.

Clampitt died at her home in Lenox, Massachusetts, in Sept. 1994.

Selected Bibliography

  • Multitudes, Multitudes (1974)
  • The Kingfisher (1983)
  • The Summer Solstice(1983)
  • The Isthmus (1981) limited edition
  • A Homage to John Keats (1984) limited edition
  • What the Light Was Like (1985)
  • Archaic Figure (1987)
  • The Essential Donne (1988) author of introduction
  • Westward: Poems (1990)
  • Manhattan: An Elegy, and Other Poems (1990)
  • Predecessors, Et Cetera: Essays (1991)
  • A Silence Opens: Poems (1994)
  • The Collected Poems of Amy Clampitt (1997)

Selected Resources