Kagean Ni House Proposal (September 3, 2022)
We envision a house on the Olympic Peninsula to help poets live the life of a poet 24/7 in a manner that would honor the spirit, work, and life of Sam Hamill, the late Founder of Copper Canyon Press, poet, translator and friend of the organization. It would continue — & give a physical space again to stage — the organization’s commitment to a spontaneous/place-based and embodied poetics to shift the paradigm away from the abstractions and generalizations of Western culture and the disconnect from biosphere that stance enables.
The house would be purchased (or built) in a place such as Brinnon, Sequim, Port Angeles or Hoodsport to serve as retreat center for the CPL Board, a place for extended workshops, literary retreats putting poets of color and others at the margin first, CPL events and events sympathetic to the CPL mission of “Empowering people to practice poetry & deepen connections to place, self & the present moment.” We envision a place from which participants could walk into the wilderness. There would be Airbnb-ready cabins to aid revenues, poetry events, retreats, writing workshops, computer literacy classes and natural medicine events.
The ideal property has a house with kitchen, bathrooms, a large area that could be used for group workshops, yoga/meditation retreats, small cabins on the property to house visitors as well as campsites. Estimated budget: $2M for the property and upgrades. (An additional $1M for operations.) The Olympic Peninsula is home to Olympic National Park, a U.N. World Heritage site and was Sam’s home for decades. The proximity to the park opens up wilderness writing experience opportunities. The priorities of the house would reflect CPL and Sam Hamill’s dedication to peace, Asian wisdom traditions, translation, consciousness, poetry of place and poetics.
Born in 1943, Sam Hamill was raised in Utah, attended the University of California–Santa Barbara, where he served as editor of the university’s literary magazine. In 1972, with money awarded for editorial excellence, he co-founded Copper Canyon Press. Sam wrote numerous books of poetry, four books of literary prose, edited several volumes of poetry and published several books of translations. Editor of Copper Canyon Press for 34 years, he founded Poets Against the War, a movement of poets protesting the invasion of Iraq. Sam received numerous honors and awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, as well as the First Amendment Award from PEN USA, and two Washington Governor’s Arts Awards. He died in Anacortes, Washington, on April 14, 2018.
Sam Hamill Photographed by Ian Boyden