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The official website of poet Amy Clampitt.
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Amy Clampitt
photo Thomas Victor

Amy Clampitt

Amy Clampitt was born on June 15, 1920, and brought up in New Providence, Iowa. She wrote poetry in high school, but then ceased and focused her energies on writing fiction instead. She graduated from Grinnell College, and from that time on lived mainly in New York City. To support herself, she worked as a secretary at the Oxford University Press, a reference librarian at the Audubon Society, and a freelance editor. Not until the mid-1960s, when she was in her forties, did she return to writing poetry. Her first poem was published by The New Yorker in 1978. In 1983, at the age of sixty-three, she published her first full-length collection, The Kingfisher.

In the decade that followed, Clampitt published five books of poetry, including What the Light Was Like (1985), Archaic Figure (1987), and Westward (1990). Her last book, A Silence Opens, appeared in 1994. The recipient in 1982 of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1984 of an Academy Fellowship, she was made a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 1992. She was also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and taught at the College of William and Mary, Amherst College, and Smith College. She died of cancer in September 1994.

A Selected Bibliography


A Silence Opens (1994)
Archaic Figure (1987)
As If: Poems New and Selected (1955)
Manhattan: An Elegy, and Other Poems (1990)
Multitudes, Multitudes (1973)
The Collected Poems of Amy Clampitt (1997)
The Kingfisher (1983)
The Summer Solstice (1983)
Westward (1990)
What the Light Was Like (1985)


A Homage to John Keats (1984)
Predecessors, Et Cetera: Essays (1991)
The Essential Donne (1988)


From the Image Archive
Poems by
Amy Clampitt

A Hedge of Rubber Trees
A Hermit Thrush
A Silence
Beach Glass
Easter Morning
Nothing Stays Put
On the Disadvantages of Central Heating
The Sun Underfoot Among the Sundews
Vacant Lot with Pokeweed

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Mary L. Collar
Albion, MI

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