New Writers Residency Program: Amy Clampitt
January 26, 2004
Great Barrington, MA—The Amy Clampitt Residency Program was launched in October 2003 with the arrival of the first resident, Willard Spiegelman, a poetry scholar, at Amy Clampitt's former house in Stockbridge, MA.
Dr. Spiegelman is the Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and editor-in-chief of The Southwest Review. He has written four books on British Romantic poetry and contemporary American poetry. His essays have been widely published, and he writes about the arts for the Wall Street Journal, Opera News, and other magazines. He is compiling and editing Amy Clampitt's letters for publication by Columbia University Press while in residence at the Clampitt house in western Massachusetts through 2004.
It is a great honor to be the first Amy Clampitt Fellow in residence,stated Dr. Spiegelman. It's also a source of tremendous personal satisfaction to realize that the spirit of a poet whom I admired greatly, and whose work was an important part of American poetry in the last part of the 20th century, will continue to live through this residency program at her Stockbridge cottage.
Alfred Corn, a poet from Wakefield, RI, has been selected to be the second resident. He will be working on a book of poetry while in residence from August 2004 to July 2005. Corn is the author of twelve volumes of poetry, most recently, Contradictions, published in 2002; Stake: Selected Poems, published in 1999; and Present, published in 1997.
The Amy Clampitt Residency Program has been developed and is overseen by its Board of Directors, whose members are: Karen Chase, poet, Lenox, MA; Ann Close, editor, New York City; Robert Freedman, attorney, New York City; and Mary Jo Salter, poet, Amherst, MA. Successful candidates will live in this three-bedroom cottage in a quiet residential neighborhood a few minutes' walk from the village of Lenox, Massachusetts, in the Berkshire Hills. It is the Board's hope that the residency will provide an established or emerging poet or literary scholar with the rare gift of extended time and a reasonable stipend so that he or she may substantially further his or her creative work. The next deadline for residency applications is May 1, 2004, for a residency in 2005—2006. Residencies are for either a 6 or 12 month period.
It's very exciting, and as Amy Clampitt's editor very gratifying, to be part of the Board for the wonderful legacy left by Amy's husband, Harold Korn, to restore her house and make it available for poets and writers to live in, explained Ann Close, a senior editor at Knopf. It is an original and useful way to ensure that Amy and her work remain fresh and alive in people's minds.
Amy Clampitt was born and brought up in New Providence, Iowa, graduated from Grinnell College, and from that time on lived mainly in New York City. Her first full-length collection, The Kingfisher, published in 1983, was followed in 1985 by What the Light Was Like, in 1987 by Archaic Figure, and in 1990 by Westward. A Silence Opens, her last book, appeared in 1994.
The recipient in 1982 of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1984 of an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, she was made a MacArthur Prize Fellow in 1992. She purchased a small house in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, with part of the award and lived there briefly before her death in September 1994. She was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a Writer in Residence at the College of William and Mary, Visiting Writer at Amherst College, and Grace Hazard Conkling Visiting Writer at Smith College. Her husband, Harold Korn, died in March 2001. It is his estate that has established the Amy Clampitt Fund, under which the Residency Program operates.
The Amy Clampitt Fund is housed at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that cultivates philanthropy in ways that have a direct positive impact in Berkshire, Columbia, northeast Dutchess and northwest Litchfield counties. For more information please contact Berkshire Taconic at 800 N Main Street, Sheffield, MA, 01257-0400, 413.229.0370, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.berkshiretaconic.org.