Amy Clampitt Biographical Note

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Amy Clampitt was born in 1920 in New Providence, Iowa. After graduating from Grinnell College in 1941, she worked as a secretary at the Oxford University Press, a reference librarian at the Audubon Society, and later as a freelance writer and editor. Although she had written poetry in high school, she did not begin to write poetry again until the 1960s.

Clampitt published her first full-length collection, The Kingfisher, in 1983, which brought her to the attention of literary critics. She subsequently published several more books of poetry, including What the Light Was Like (1985), Archaic Figure (1987), and Westward (1990). Before her death in September of 1994, she published her last book, A Silence Opens.

A member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Clampitt's awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992. She also taught at the College of William and Mary, Amherst College, and Smith College.