BTCF Blog | For Poet Jessica Piazza, Clampitt Residency is 'Unpar

BTCF Blog

For Poet Jessica Piazza, Clampitt Residency is 'Unparalleled'

By Darryl Gangloff / May 28, 2019 / Grantee Spotlight
For Poet Jessica Piazza, Clampitt Residency is 'Unparalleled'

Jessica Piazza is the 26th recipient of the Amy Clampitt residency, which provides poets and literary scholars with the time and opportunity to focus exclusively on their work at Clampitt’s former home near Lenox.

When it came time to begin her six-month stay, Piazza packed up her car and drove from Los Angeles, where she teaches at the University of Southern California, to Berkshire County. She fell in love with the region, then covered in snow, the moment she arrived.

 “The Berkshires speak to my soul,” she said while sitting on the living room couch in the Clampitt house. “I am smitten with the arts community here.”

Piazza is the author of three poetry collections—“Interrobang,” “This is Not a Sky” and “Obliterations” (with Heather Aimee O'Neill)—as well as a children's book, “Olivia Otter Builds Her Raft.” Her poems have recently appeared in “Best American Poetry 2018,” “Smartish Pace” and “32 Poems.”

She’s currently using the Clampitt residency to work on a book of poems featuring women who are her age, 41, in this cultural, political and social moment. And she’s thrilled to finally have the time to write and research her first novel, which will be in the genre of historical fiction.

 “This residency is unparalleled. It’s important and crucial and rare,” Piazza said. “Staying in the home of another woman who’s an artist is extra special for me. Amy’s notes are in the margins of some of the books. You’re living in the world that inspired her life.”

A lively and vibrant speaker, Piazza strives to engage the arts community in her travels. She cofounded the literary journal “Bat City Review” in Austin and Gold Line Press in Los Angeles, and curates Poetry Has Value, a blog focused on the intersections of poetry, money and worth. She regularly facilitates book clubs for avid readers, and likes to introduce the participants to poetry. Here in the Berkshires, she has readings of her work scheduled.

“Fiction gives you access to other worlds,” she said. “Poetry connects you more to yourself.”

Jessica Piazza Readings

Tuesday, May 28: Lee Library, 100 Main St., Lee, Mass., 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 18: Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, 57 Interlaken Road, Stockbridge, Mass., 9 a.m. Piazza will join Berkshire Magazine editor Anastasia Stanmeyer for "Cognitive Poetics: Writing as Meditation" as part of Kripalu's Best of the Berkshires Week.

Friday, June 28: The Bookstore & Get Lit Wine Bar, 11 Housatonic St., Lenox, Mass., 5:30 p.m.

Summer Clampitt Events

July 21 and Aug. 18: Walkin’ with WordXWord at The Mount, 2 Plunkett St., Lenox, Mass., 3 p.m.
Poets, dancers and other performers will respond to the SculptureNow exhibition on the grounds of The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home. The event is presented in partnership with Jacob’s Pillow, Lift Ev’ry Voice and The Mount, and sponsored by the Amy Clampitt Fund, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

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