Other literary forms
Although Amy Clampitt is known primarily for her collections of poems, her first serious literary efforts took the form of fiction. Clampitt wrote two full-length novels in the 1950’s, although they remain unpublished. She did, however, produce some noteworthy critical work late in her career. Clampitt provided the introduction and selected the poems for Ecco Press’s The Essential Donne, published in 1988. Predecessors, Et Cetera: Essays, published by the University of Michigan Press in 1991, includes several of her essays on the aesthetics of writing and on seminal literary figures she found influential on her own work. Clampitt begins the book by posing the most fundamental of questions, “What do you need to know to be a writer?” She then uses this question as a springboard for a candid and remarkably lucid discussion of the ideas of literary figures as diverse as nineteenth century novelist Henry James and twentieth century eschatologist Hal Lindsey. In this way the essays of Predecessors, Et Cetera reflect the intellectual eclecticism that informs her most memorable poems.