Poets Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz and Lilah Hegnauer Awarded Amy Clampitt Residencies

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

(LENOX, Mass.) — Poets Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz and Lilah Hegnauer have been awarded residencies of six months each from the Amy Clampitt Fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. The Amy Clampitt Residency Program provides a 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. Selected candidates live in Amy Clampitt’s prior residence, a three-bedroom cottage in a quiet residential neighborhood a few minutes’ walk from the village of Lenox in the Berkshire Hills.

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz was born in Philadelphia and is currently from Texas. She is the author of five books of poetry: Dear Future Boyfriend, Hot Teen Slut, Working Class Represent, Oh, Terrible Youth and Everything is Everything, as well as the nonfiction book, Words In Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam, which prominently features the poetry slam careers of Columbia County, N.Y., author Maggie Estep and the Berkshires’ own Taylor Mali. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in various journals, including Rattle, McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies, Pank, La Petite Zine, decomP, Umbrella, The Other Journal, Danse Macabre, Conduit, Barrelhouse and Monkeybicycle.

Aptowicz will be using the residency to finish her manuscript for The Year of New Mistakes, which will be her sixth book of poetry. Aptowicz will reside at the Clampitt House from February through July 2013.

Regarding the award, Aptowicz said, “I am deeply honored and humbled to have the opportunity to live and work at the Amy Clampitt House as its 2013 writer-in-residence. I am in the process of finishing two manuscripts — one poetry and one nonfiction — and I am grateful everyday for the extraordinary gift of time, focus and space that Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation is granting me with this residency. Amy’s incredible presence and her bright energy can be felt in every room of her namesake house, and her books — often with her handwritten notes, receipts and various other ephemera found tucked inside — have already inspired my work to move in new directions. What more could a writer ask for?”

Lilah Hegnauer is from Charlottesville, Va., and will reside at the Clampitt House from August 2013 through January 2014. She is the author of Dark Under Kiganda Stars (Ausable Press 2005). Her poems have been published in such journals as The Kenyon Review, FIELD, AGNI, Ploughshares, Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Gastronomica, and Quarterly West. She will be using the residency to work on her manuscript of poetry.

This residency is named in honor of the poet Amy Clampitt, who wrote prolifically from her cottage until her death in 1994. The Amy Clampitt Fund was established in 2001 by Clampitt’s late husband Harold Korn to benefit poetry and the literary arts, and is managed by Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Clampitt’s brilliant career as a poet began late in her life. Her first full-length collection, The Kingfisher, was published in 1983 at the age of 63. It was hailed as that rare first book that “signals a major poet in full bloom” (Los Angeles Times). Over the next eleven years, Clampitt produced four additional, major collections. A recently released collection of her most essential poems are gathered together in Amy Clampitt Selected Poems, published by Knopf.

The recipient in 1982 of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1984 of an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, Clampitt was made a MacArthur Prize Fellow in 1992. She was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and completed residences at the College of William and Mary, Amherst College, and Smith College. She died in September 1994.

The participants for the Amy Clampitt Residency are chosen through a competitive application process. Deadline for submissions for residencies beginning in 2015 is August 1, 2013. More information and applications are available at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Amy Clampitt Fund or by calling 413.229.0370.

For over 25 years, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has built stronger communities and helped donors make a difference through charitable giving in northwest Litchfield County, CT; Berkshire County, MA; and Columbia County and northeast Dutchess County, NY. Each year, the foundation distributes over $7 million through grants and scholarships to nonprofits and individuals in the arts and education, health and human services and environmental protection. Berkshire Taconic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity.

 

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