Saturday, September 15, 2001

Sam Hamill

When Carla requested biographical information about him, poet, editor and translator Sam Hamill made a very specific statement about introductions:

"The shorter the Intro; the better I like it,"

which presents me with a dilemma. In preparation, I read a lot of material on each guest writer presented here. I've come to realize that some writers have more interesting writing than lives, and others, more interesting lives than writing. Then along comes Sam Hamill, who is damned interesting on both counts, but who says: 'keep it short.' Yet the purpose of intros, of course, is to acquaint the audience with the writer. So, here goes nothin'.

Whelped in 1943
orphan of the Last Good War,
adoption and battering by Utah farm-folk
escape to jail, heroin, San Francisco
a turn-around at words of Beat Poets Rexroth and Snyder,
wrong turn into Marine Corps and Okinawa
slow turn into conscientious objector
long-term immersion in Confucius and Cantos
birthed Copper Canyon Press
water-hauling, wood-splitting
twenty-foot trailer
electricity a stranger
fifteen books of poetry
twenty-eight translations from Ancient Chinese, Japanese, Estonian and Ancient Greek
editing, editing
two Pushcarts, a Guggenheim
awards, fellowships
scholarship by candlelight
ever seeking the way of poetry.

Copper Canyon Press

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