Patricia Hampl Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Patricia Hampl (HAM-pihl), best known for her memoirs, began her professional writing career as a journalist. She has written several nonfiction books and contributed travel articles to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, The New York Times, and other periodicals. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have been printed in numerous anthologies and journals, including The Best American Short Stories 1977, Best American Essays 1999, Best American Spiritual Writing 2005, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and Ploughshares. Hampl created lyrics for In a Winter Garden: A Choral Work for Advent (1982) and wrote a film screenplay adapting her book Spillville. The Minnesota Center for Book Arts printed Hampl’s short story “The Summer House” as a book in 2000. She contributed forewords to the books Noble Task: The Saint Paul Public Library Celebrates 125! (2007), by Biloine Whiting Young, and The Nature of Dogs (2007), by Mary Luddington.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

In 1981, Houghton Mifflin presented Patricia Hampl with its literary fellowship award in honor of her memoir, A Romantic Education (1981). Hampl’s work won three Minnesota Book Awards, including for Spillville (1987) in 1988, The Summer House in 2001, and The Florist’s Daughter (2007) in 2008. Hampl’s short story “The Bill Collector’s Vacation” won a 1999 Pushcart Prize. Her book I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory (1999) was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award in general nonfiction. The Western Literature Association presented Hampl with its 2001 Distinguished Achievement Award. In 2007, Hampl was selected for membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Numerous periodicals, including The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, and Christian Science Monitor, have selected Hampl’s works for their annual lists of notable books. She has received prestigious grants and fellowships for her poems and narrative writing from organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the MacArthur Foundation. Hampl was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1995. Carnegie Mellon University Press printed a special volume of Hampl’s Resort, and Other Poems in 2001 as an example of classic American poetry.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Corn, Alfred. “Getting the Colors Right.” Review of Resort, and Other Poems. The New York Times Book Review, March 11, 1984, p. 26. Corn, also a poet, notes how Hampl’s observations and awareness of the past help her craft poetry, remarking about the effectiveness of her stylistic techniques.

Hampl, Patricia. “A Conversation with Patricia Hampl.” Interview by Jocelyn Bartkevicius, David Hamilton, and Mary Hussmann. Iowa Review 23, no. 3 (Fall, 1993): 1-25. This detailed interview by University of Iowa associates examines Hampl’s religious views and explores literary elements of her poems and how her poetry influenced her memoirs.

_______. “Patricia Hampl.” http://www.patriciahampl .com. Hampl’s Web site offers a biography, a list of books, information on events, links to interviews, and performances of her work with musical accompaniment.

_______. “’We Were Such a Generation’—Memoir, Truthfulness, and History: An Interview with Patricia Hampl.” Interview by Shelle Barton, Sheyene Foster Heller, and Jennifer Henderson. River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative 5, no. 2 (Spring, 2004): 129-142. Hampl talks about her development as a writer, appropriation of autobiographical topics, and presentation of memories. She comments about differences in creating poems and essays.

Harrison, Kathryn. “Hammered by Art.” Review of Blue Arabesque. The New York Times Book Review, October 29, 2006, p. 16. Discussion of Hampl’s memoir Blue Arabesque incorporates information about her first viewing of the painting “Woman Before an Aquarium” and how it affected her as a poet.

Murphy, Patrick D. “Somagrams in An/Other Tongue: Patricia Hampl’s ’Resort.’” In Literature, Nature, and Other: Ecofeminist Critiques. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995. This revised version of an article first published in the journal Women’s Studies in 1991 provides a feminist interpretation of Hampl’s poetry and its imagery, particularly landscape.

Paton, Priscilla M. “Reviews: On Susan Allen Toth, Carol Bly, and Patricia Hampl.” Iowa Review 14, no. 3 (Fall, 1984): 191-199. Paton comments on Hampl’s A Romantic Education, discussing how she perceives culture, history, and truth and noting that her prose retains the lyrical qualities of her poetry.

Smit, David. “Bringing the Transcendent Down to Earth: The Rhetoric of Patricia Hampl’s Virgin Time.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 25 (1995): 123-133. Examines Hampl’s spiritual introspection at religious sites, reminiscent of her character’s experiences in “Resort,” which foreshadowed literary aspects of the memoir this scholar analyzes.