Saturday, March 08, 2008

Poet of the Month

March's Featured Poet
Amy Clampitt (1920-1994) , was born in New Providence, Iowa, and after Grinnell College she settled in New York City, working by turns at the Oxford University Press, in the Audubon Society’s Library, and as a freelance editor. The Kingfisher, from which the acutely observed poem below comes, appeared in 1983 and was followed by four more: What the Light was Like, Archaic Figure, Westward, and A Silence Opens.

The Cormorant in its Element

"That bony potbellied arrow, wing‑pumping along
implacably, with a ramrod's rigid adherence,
airborne, to the horizontal, discloses talents
one would never have guessed at. Plummeting

waterward, big black feet splayed for a landing
gear, slim head turning and turning, vermilion‑
strapped, this way and that, with a lightning glance
over the shoulder, the cormorant astounding‑

ly, in one sleek involuted arabesque, a vertical
turn on a dime, goes into the inimitable

deep act which, unlike the works of Homo Houdini,
is performed for reasons having nothing at all
to do with ego, guilt, ambition, or even money."

Further Reading:
The Collected Poems of Amy Clampitt, 1994, in our library’s collection.

Coming in April:
National Poetry Month, a month-long celebration of both poets and poems.

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson