Archaic Figure

Amy Clampitt, Author Alfred A. Knopf $15.95 (113p) ISBN 978-0-394-55919-3
We admire Clampitt most of all for the degree to which her poetry imitates, in idealized form, the refined but tortuous convolutions of human consciousness of the highest order. She treats her craft as the great synthesizing art. There is no aspect of myth, history, civilization, nature or everyday human existence excluded from her probative meditations. Terror, headache and drowning are powerful, recurrent emblems in her third book, particularly when she examines the thwarted lives of intelligent women, creating a brooding subcurrent to the controlled and dazzlingly wrought surface of her writing. As always, texts and subtexts multiply on successive readings. All her poems are constructed as mirrors in many-sided boxes. There may be other poets who write poems as rich and dense as Clampitt's, but none so consistently generous and rewarding. Archaic Figure takes its place beside The Kingfisher and What the Light Was Like as a perdurable masterpiece of contemporary poetry. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
Paperback - 113 pages - 978-0-394-75090-3
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