Amy Clampitt’s Poetry Of Deep Ambition And Erotic Intensity

Heather Clark at Poetry Magazine:

“She had no sympathy,” Spiegelman tells us, “for people who paraded their inner misfortunes.” Clampitt’s dismissive attitude toward the self-indulgences of confessional verse, which commanded so much attention in the 1960s and 1970s, was a product, he writes, of “her stern midwestern upbringing.” And her models: Hopkins, KeatsWordsworthDickinsonMillaySwinburne. Clampitt returned to their lives again and again in her work, and their echoes sound in “The Kingfisher.” But T.S. Eliot also haunts the poem: memory and desire, European landscapes, breakdown, and even the nightingale recall The Waste Land. Clampitt knew it all. In 1956, she told her brother Philip that she could write a history of English literature from memory “and know just where to place everybody in it, with hardly any trouble at all. The reason being, apparently, that I feel I am in it.” Spiegelman notes the boldness of this claim, especially for a woman writer who did not publish her first poem until 1978.

more here.