Summer 1982 • Vol. IV No. 3 Contemporary American Poetry |

Rain at Bellagio

       1 The omnipresence of the sound of water: rainon the graveled walks, the lakeside terraces,the red pantiles of Bellagio. At Paestum we had not heard it.An acreage of thyme, winnowed by sea breezes.A line of blue out past the silted harbor—unauthenticated because unheard,a scene one might have dreamed. At Herculaneum, a stoppage of the ears.Cicadas mute, an oleander stillness.Rancor of cypresses. Impacted fire.Effete ribaldry strangling in hot mudup to the nostrils. Water strickenfrom the ledgers of memory. At Naples, human noise inundating the bayfront,lapping at castles' elephantine hooves, rampagingtenement ravines. Once in the nightI woke and knew it had been raining—not from the sound but from the smell, as thoughan animal had left its spoor. Under an aspect less clement, the trickleof sewers, the vine-patched bombholes,bambini with no underpants, gnarled womenwearing the black of perpetual resignation,might have figured more gravely than

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In 1983, at the age of sixty-three, Amy Clampitt published her first full-length collection, The Kingfisher (Alfred A. Knopf). In the decade that followed, Clampitt published five books of poetry, including What the Light Was Like (Alfred A. Knopf, 1985), Archaic Figure (Alfred A. Knopf, 1987), and Westward (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990). Her last book, A Silence Opens (Alfred A. Knopf), appeared in 1994. The recipient in 1982 of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1984 of an Academy Fellowship, she was made a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 1992.

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Keats and the Elgin Marbles

By Amy Clampitt

       1 The omnipresence of the sound of water: rainon the graveled walks, the lakeside terraces,the red pantiles of Bellagio. At Paestum we had not heard it.An acreage of thyme, winnowed […]

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