I consider him the dean of Washington poets. Sam Hamill’s poetry life has manifested in an oeuvre that is quintessentially Cascadian, influenced by Asian wisdom culture, deeply connected to place and will soon find its place in world literature. His work as poet, essayist, translator and editor would be a good output for 4 of 5 people, he did it all, did it with a keen perception and huge commitment to justice and is calling it quits in celebration of his 75th birthday in an event that will launch the book After Morning Rain, which Sam says will be, “my final collection of poems.”
The 7pm May 15 reading at The Depot
in Anacortes has been cancelled.
I have written so much about Sam, it’s hard to know where to begin, but here are a few links that you might consider clicking on:
Christopher Yohmei Blasdel is a world-class musician and worth the trip alone, but given his love and ongoing collaboration with Sam, this is an evening not to be missed.
Thanks for the heads-up, Paul. I’ll see you there!
One question about Sam – where, when, why (I guess that’s three questions) did he become so knowledgable about Japanese culture and language?
The first time I understood why Basho’s frogpond poem got so much attention – after reading several other translations – was in the Shambhala centaur edition of “The Sound of Water” translated by him. (My own interest came when helping my late husband with the book “Kanji and Codes” He was a Japanese Language interpreter during WWII)
No Dan, it has been canceled due to Sam’s failing heath.
Sam was a U.S. Marine station in Okinawa, but also began to understand Asian culture through the work of Kenneth Rexroth. He also lived in Japan on and off for a few years, as I understand it. He taught me a lot about poetry, poetics, saké, sushi, golf and a few other subjects. He had dedicated his life to poetry with a bodhisattva vow of poverty and is in failing health. Ask him this question on his Facebook wall and I am sure you will get a response if you are on Facebook. Thanks for reading.