"If Gerard Hopkins
and Marianne Moore
, those two uniquenesses, had married each other, they might have borne Amy Clampitt," says poet Mona Van Duyn
. Certainly Hopkins's capacity for sprung rhythms wrapped around an awestruck wonder at the world seems to mesh, in Clampitt's poems, with Moore's genius for linguistic playfulness and depth of detail. Clampitt's ear is nearly unparalleled in 20th-century poets, and her delight in specificity richly rewards readers' attention. The Collected Poems of Amy Clampitt
brings together a lifetime of good work, and is one to treasure. Consider this excerpt from the traveling poem "Losing Track of Language": "The train leaps toward Italy; words fall away / through the dark into the dark bedroom / of everything left behind, the unendingness / of things lost track of--of who, of where-- / where I'm losing track of language."
From Library Journal
"I find it tempting to imagine what/...the light was like," muses Clampitt in one of her finest poems, and now that her light has been tragically snuffed, we can at least be grateful to have her five books of poetry?The Kingfisher (1983), What the Light Was Like (1985), Archaic Figure (1987), Westward (1990), and A Silence Opens (1994). Collected here for the first time three years after Clampitt's death, these works represent some of the best poetry written in late- 20th-century America. A personal and affecting introduction by poet Mary Jo Salter rounds out the volume. Any library lacking Clampitt's luminous work owes it to its patrons to buy this book.?Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
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