How a 'Genius Grant' Came to Nurture Future Poets

Publication date: 
September, 2014

SHEFFIELD, MA -- Poet Amy Clampitt is remembered today – as new McArthur fellows are named – because the home she bought with her prize money has provided a poet residency in the Berkshires since 2003.

The estate from her late husband, legal scholar Harold Korn, was left to maintain the home and fund the Amy Clampitt Residency Program in perpetuity through The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

The residency provides an established or emerging poet or literary scholar with the rare gift of extended time and a reasonable stipend so that he or she may substantially further his or her creative work.

“These residencies are totally ideal for poets," said 2014 Poet Peter Kline, who completed his residency this August. “Creativity can happen whenever it happens and I’m always available to respond to it."

Kline used the residency to complete his second collection of poems. “When I came to the Berkshires, I had it about halfway done. The ability to have basically unlimited time to work is just perfect.”

New recipients of the Amy Clampitt Residency Program are Jacob Shores-Arguello (2015), Safiya Sinclair (2016) and Valzhyna Mort (2016). For a listing of past residencies and to read works of past recipients visit The Amy Clampitt Fund website.

Described in a New York Times obituary as a “late bloomer,” Amy Clampitt published her first full-length collection of poems, The Kingfisher, in 1983 at age 63. Immediately hailed as among the most important poets of her day, Clampitt produced four additional collections: What the Light Was Like (1985), Archaic Figure (1987), Westward (1990) and her last book, A Silence Opens, in 1994.

Hear a story about Amy Clampitt's legacy from NPR's Morning Edition, How One Poet's 'Genius Grant' Became A Gift To Future Generations >>

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation builds stronger, more vibrant communities and improves the quality of life for all residents of Berkshire County, MA; Columbia and northeast Dutchess County, NY; and northwest Litchfield County, CT.



Maeve O'Dea
Program Director
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
413-229-0370 x114