Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Reviews of Selected Poems by Amy Clampitt

Selected Poems

by Amy Clampitt

Selected Poems by Amy Clampitt X
Selected Poems by Amy Clampitt
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Oct 2010, 352 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Here is a treasure of Amy Clampitt's verse, for those who are reading her for the first time, as well as for those who have long admired her.

When Amy Clampitt's first collection, The Kingfisher, was published, it was hailed as that rare first book that "signals a major poet in full bloom" (Los Angeles Times). Its author was sixty-three years old. Over the next eleven years, Clampitt produced four additional, major collections. Now, the most essential poems from these five volumes are gathered together.

Clampitt was an impassioned observer of the natural world, the delights of which color many of these poems: writing of the fog, she described "a stuff so single / it might almost be lifted, / folded over, crawled underneath / or slid between, as nakedness- / caressingsheets." Such was the texture of her language, too. She was a traveler, reporting back from England and Greece, from California and Maine, and from her native Midwest. An Iowa transplant to New York, the descendant of pioneers, she wrote of prairies and subways; of the movements of wildflowers, people, and ideas; and of the widespread modern experience of uprootedness.

Here is a treasure of Amy Clampitt's verse, for those who are reading her for the first time, as well as for those who have long admired her.

iola, kansas

Riding all night, the bus half empty, toward the interior,
among refineries, trellised and turreted illusory cities,
the crass, the indispensable wastefulness of oil rigs
offshore, of homunculi swigging at the gut of a continent:

the trailers, the semis, the vans, the bumper stickers,
slogans in day- glo invoking the name of Jesus, who knows
what it means: the air waves, the brand name, the backyard
Barbie- doll barbecue, graffiti in video, the burblings,

the dirges: heart like a rock, I said Kathy I’m lost,
the scheme is a mess, we’ve left Oklahoma, its cattle,
sere groves of pecan trees interspersing the horizonless
belch and glare, the alluvium of the auto junkyards,

we’re in Kansas now, we’ve turned off the freeway,
we’re meandering, as again night falls, among farmsteads,
the little towns with the name of a girl on the watertower,
the bandstand in the park at the center, the churches

alight from within, perpendicular ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Amy Clampitt relished the chance... to reveal the immense power that words have to create the world instead of merely explaining it. Seeing, for Clampitt, encompassed all five senses: her poems, like the flora she loved so much, run rampant with sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures, and a rich harvest awaits anyone who delves into this selection of her best work... [she] brought a fresh way of seeing to American verse, and this edition, despite a few shortcomings, abundantly displays the bracing light that her words shone on the surrounding world...continued

Full Review (797 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Marnie Colton).

Media Reviews

The New Republic
Unlike the barren writing of so many of her contemporaries, Clampitt’s poetry fertilizes and increases upon itself... She wanders from Beethoven’s concert hall to Jerusalem to Keats’s Europe to Ancient Greece to Kansas and all of the “unmapped sources” in between, absorbing like a sponge beauty and confusion alike, and in her capacity as a visionary she transfigures the experienced place into a place steeped in poetry.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

About Amy Clampitt
Upon publication of her book of poems The Kingfisher in 1983, Amy Clampitt became one of the most highly regarded poets in America. Born in 1920 to Quaker parents and raised on a farm in rural Iowa, she graduated from Grinnell College, and from that time on lived mainly in New York City, later studying at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Clampitt worked as a secretary at Oxford University Press, as a librarian at The Audubon Society, and as a freelance editor while she attempted unsuccessfully to write novels. In the 1960s she turned her attention to poetry, and in 1974 she published a small volume of poetry titled Multitudes, Multitudes; thereafter her work ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Selected Poems, try these:

  • The Best of It jacket

    The Best of It

    by Kay Ryan

    Published 2011

    About this book

    A major event in American poetry: The poet’s own selection of more than two hundred poems, offering both longtime followers and new readers a stunning retrospective of her earlier work as well as a generous selection of powerful new poems.

  • The Ada Poems jacket

    The Ada Poems

    by Cynthia Zarin

    Published 2010

    About this book

    A dazzling story of obsessive love emerges in Cynthia Zarin's luminous new book inspired and inhabited by the title character of Nabokov’s novel Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, who was the lifelong love of her half brother, Van.


Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Clear
    Clear
    by Carys Davies
    John Ferguson is a principled man. But when, in 1843, those principles drive him to break from the ...
  • Book Jacket: Change
    Change
    by Edouard Louis
    Édouard Louis's 2014 debut novel, The End of Eddy—an instant literary success, published ...
  • Book Jacket: Big Time
    Big Time
    by Ben H. Winters
    Big Time, the latest offering from prolific novelist and screenwriter Ben H. Winters, is as ...
  • Book Jacket: Becoming Madam Secretary
    Becoming Madam Secretary
    by Stephanie Dray
    Our First Impressions reviewers enjoyed reading about Frances Perkins, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
A Great Country
by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
A novel exploring the ties and fractures of a close-knit Indian-American family in the aftermath of a violent encounter with the police.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The House on Biscayne Bay
    by Chanel Cleeton

    As death stalks a gothic mansion in Miami, the lives of two women intertwine as the past and present collide.

  • Book Jacket

    The Flower Sisters
    by Michelle Collins Anderson

    From the new Fannie Flagg of the Ozarks, a richly-woven story of family, forgiveness, and reinvention.

Win This Book
Win The Funeral Cryer

The Funeral Cryer by Wenyan Lu

Debut novelist Wenyan Lu brings us this witty yet profound story about one woman's midlife reawakening in contemporary rural China.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

M as A H

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.