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 ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Amy Clampitt Poems
While you walk the water's edge, turning over concepts I can't envision, the honking buoy serves notice that at any time
A vagueness comes over everything, as though proving color and contour alike dispensable: the lighthouse extinct, the islands' spruce-tips
Vacant Lot With Pokeweed
Tufts, follicles, grubstake biennial rosettes, a low- life beach-blond scruff of couch grass: notwithstanding
past parentage or gender beyond sung vocables the slipped-between the so infinitesimal
The Sun Underfoot Among The Sundews
An ingenuity too astonishing to be quite fortuitous is this bog full of sundews, sphagnum- lines and shaped like a teacup.
a stone at dawn cold water in the basin these walls' rough plaster imageless
On The Disadvantages Of Central Heating
cold nights on the farm, a sock-shod stove-warmed flatiron slid under the covers, mornings a damascene- sealed bizarrerie of fernwork
A Hermit Thrush
Nothing's certain. Crossing, on this longest day, the low-tide-uncovered isthmus, scrambling up the scree-slope of what at high tide will be again an island,
Late in the day the fog wrung itself out like a sponge in glades of rain, sieving the half-invisible
Nothing Stays Put
In memory of Father Flye, 1884-1985 The strange and wonderful are too much with us.
Lost aboard the roll of Kodac- olor that was to have super- seded all need to remember Somerset were: a large flock
Like the foghorn that's all lung, the wind chime that's all percussion, like the wind itself, that's merely air in a terrible fret, without so much
A Hedge Of Rubber Trees
The West Village by then was changing; before long the rundown brownstones at its farthest edge would have slipped into trendier hands. She lived, impervious to trends, behind a potted hedge of
A Catalpa Tree On West Twelfth Street
While the sun stops, or seems to, to define a term for the indeterminable, the human aspect, here
Comments about Amy Clampitt
While you walk the water's edge,
turning over concepts
I can't envision, the honking buoy
serves notice that at any time
the wind may change,
the reef-bell clatters
its treble monotone, deaf as Cassandra
to any note but warning. The ocean,
cumbered by no business more urgent
than keeping open old accounts
that never balanced,
goes on shuffling its millenniums
of quartz, granite, and basalt.
toward the permutations of novelty—
driftwood and shipwreck, last night's
beer cans, spilt oil, the coughed-up
residue of ...