The recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants" will each receive $625,000 over five years, no strings attached. That made some of us wonder what past MacArthur fellows have done with their money, a question that led us to 1992 winner Amy Clampitt.
Clampitt, a poet, was on vacation when she heard from her friend, writer Karen Chase, that she had been named a MacArthur genius.
"She was furious with me because she thought I was teasing her," Chase recalls. "And by the end of the conversation she said, 'I'm gonna buy a house in Lenox!' "