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DoveTales Online, Issue 1 – August 2019

Our first issue of DoveTales Online is up!

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceSince 2013, Writing for Peace has invited writers and artists from all over the globe to explore themes within the context of current events. Their responsespoetry, fiction, nonfiction, art and photographytell us something about the nature of humanity. We learn from each other. We share our joys and grief, empathy and compassion, the wisdom of years and youth, and the dream of a world that is healthy and diverse, with equality and justice for every sentient beingwhether or not they can afford political lobbyists. This philosophy resulted in a collection of beautiful print booksOccupied, Contrast, Nature, Family and Cultural Identity, Refugees and the Displaced, and Empathy in Art: Embracing the Otherthat educate, inspire, and challenge us.

We continue this tradition with our new online journal, celebrating the community we have built together, and supporting each other in our efforts to leave this world a better place for future generations—and being online, we can do it with more color, audio and videos!

In this, our first issue of DoveTales Online, you’ll find our 2019 Young Writers Contest Winners, as well as poetry, prose, and visual art that delves into our Guest Editor, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley’s theme: “One World, One People.” If this theme seems incongruous with our daily news, make a cup of tea, get comfortable, and find out what her thought process was in choosing it. Thank you for joining us in the debut of DoveTales, An International Online Journal of the Arts!

Check out DoveTales Online Now ~

 

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Good things are coming!

Good morning, peace writers!

Hoping you’re all feeling energized by the latest news and not despairing. Good things are happening. Light is shining in dark places. Hidden evils are being revealed. Remember, when horrible news surfaces—over 900 children separated from their parents since this disastrous policy was “ended,” mass shootings becoming commonplace, climate change speeding up and scientists silenced, to name a few—it is because writers and activists are refusing to let them fester in the dark. Hard truths gain power when they are kept secrets, so let’s celebrate the knowing and keep on pushing forward. We’re in this together.

We’re working hard here at Writing for Peace. If you’re reading this on the website, you may have already seen some changes there. The site is looking pretty slicknew event calendar, streamlined format, and mobile responsive. It should be much easier to navigate on any device. All this in preparation for the launch of our beautiful new online DoveTales!

Tomorrow is the big day. DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts is going online! I’m seeing it take shape here, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Guest editor Patricia Jabbeh Wesley’s theme, “One World, One People,” has resonated with writers and artists across the globe. You’ll find hard truth, hope, love and laughter in its illuminated pages. And you won’t want to miss our young writers’ beautiful winning poems, essays and stories.

So keep the faith and watch for our new DoveTales tomorrow. We’ll be working right up until it launches, so send a good thought our way.

Wishing you peace and strength,

Carmel

Carmel Mawle is founder of the nonprofit literary organization, Writing for Peace, and has served as Editor-in-Chief of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts since 2013. A Pushcart Nominee, her short stories, essays and poetry have been published in literary journals and anthologies, including Smokelong Quarterly and Shake the Tree Anthology.

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

We must always take sides, By Andrea Doray

Andrea_final--2 (2)You can’t write about character and the human condition and be apolitical … that’s not the kind of world we’ve ever lived in.” — Sam Hamill, in a 2006 Poetry Foundation interview.

The world lost a powerful voice last year when Sam Hamill died. Hamill served as an advisor to the international organization, Writing for Peace, founded Poets Against the War, and spoke for people who otherwise could not. We need more Sam Hamills. We must always take sides.

Some people have told me that sometimes this column is too political. Some others have asked me to take a stronger stance. Some people have called me unpleasant names and some have supported my perspectives.

We live in widely diverse society where, ostensibly, we are all free to disagree in this way. And so we celebrate the birth of our country, and the freedoms that are supposed to allow us to speak without fear of government reprisal, to worship without fear of governmental oppression, to benefit from a free and open press.

It’s worth noting not only this vision of our founders, but also the courage of those who have fought for their ideals. My parents were among these. Both enlisted in the Army to serve in World War II. Both left their homes to help protect people they didn’t know. Both risked their lives for a cause greater than themselves.

I write at this time each year to honor Eva Levine, born on July 6, 1916. Eva was rounded up and transported from Poland, her homeland, to Bergen-Belsen, for no other reason than that she was Jewish. She lost her health, her husband and the rest of her family in the brutality of the Nazi death camps.

According to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. – where I received Eva’s information on ID card #2633 – after she was liberated by the British in 1945, Eva emigrated to the U.S. in 1950 and nothing more is known of her.

Yet I will continue to commemorate her, and the millions who suffered with her. I will also continue to stand up for victims who suffer today … because of their faith, their heritage, their gender, because of where they were born, how they were born, or who they love.

In these times of polarized, normalized and codified hatred, at home and abroad, I believe it’s more important than ever to recognize the men and women (Abigail Adams, anyone?) whose struggles birthed our nation. It’s more important than ever to recognize the sacrifices of the men and women who keep, and have kept, these ideals alive. It’s more important than ever to recognize that we each, each, have a role in the future that faces us—not just for ourselves, but for others who may be suffering. The lessons of the Holocaust have taught us this.

We have also learned that to be silent is to become complicit … Albert Einstein, Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel and countless others have warned that when we are neutral in situations of injustice, we have, in essence, chosen the side of the oppressor.

If this means, then, that we are not apolitical, so be it. Perhaps, as Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

Andrea Doray is a writer who believes in the words of Elie Wiesel: “We must always take sides … the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” Contact Andrea at a.doray@andreadoray.com.

Previously published by Arvada Press. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Every Conversation on Peace Matters: The 2019 Online Youth Summit

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Every Conversation on Peace Matters:
Our 2019 Online Youth Summit

By Mary Carroll-Hackett

In Spring 2014, I had a guest speaker in the two sections of a Writing for Active Citizenship I was teaching, a combat-decorated Marine and Longwood alum, who had asked to speak to my classes about local political engagement. He began his presentation by projecting a large photo, one that had played across the media for months, of the 2013 Egyptian Revolution. Even with the picture filled with images of the Egyptian flag, not a single student in the two sections, not one in forty, could identify what was taking place in the picture.

The next class period, I asked them why they felt that had happened. Their answers covered a range of reasons for what they themselves called disconnect, from not knowing what media to trust, to being too busy surviving their own lives, to the one they all agreed upon: being overwhelmed with the fear and sadness such connection created, overwhelmed in the face of twenty-four hour news coverage which led to what they said paralyzed them most: feeling overwhelmed with helplessness. I asked them how we, as educators, could help with that, how we could help them connect. I asked them What would you most connect to—listen to? Their answer: our peers. They all said they wanted two things in support of creating such a personal global connection: to hear from “people who look like us, our age,” and to learn about real, doable actions they could make in their daily lives, as both a way to help those who needed it across the planet, and as a way to combat their own feelings of helplessness.

This is how the Writing for Peace Online Youth Summit came into being.
As we prepare for the third annual summit, to take place Saturday, October 12, 2019, we are more committed than ever to honoring what those young people seek, and to both take and create every opportunity we can to advance conversations that will move us all toward more understanding and compassion.

This year, we are particularly focusing on the What Can We Do question posed by the young people with whom we’ve spoken. Our 2019 keynotes are all young activists who have been working for real change on the front-lines of their communities, and who have been engaged in this way since they were very young. They exemplify the power and effect young people can have in their own communities, and the vision of leaders who, rather than a future preying on fear and dividing us, will work, as they already are, to build community where we care and support each other.

Taikein Cooper 2019 PhotoTaikein Cooper was canvassing throughout Virginia’s communities as an 11-year-old to help elect his D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) teacher, Travis Harris, as Prince Edward County’s Sheriff, beginning the life of service he now lives, in local and regional politics and service initiatives, and as Executive Director of Virginia Excels, an education advocacy organization that focuses on educational equity by amplifying the voices of students and families. He also co-hosts the socio-political podcast, Ain’t No Free Lunch, with Ms. Danielle Greene.

Hazel Edwards 2019 PhotoHazel Edwards is an artist, community advocate and educator, who works as The Educator and Outreach Specialist in The Bryson Institute of The Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia. Among numerous other advocacy projects, Hazel has presented and led workshops in Philadelphia and across the country for hundreds of service providers and youth on gender, sexuality, racism, and antioppression. She also co-facilitated a 9-month high school social justice internship, where she taught 18 interns on systems of oppression and organizing skills. In 2016, Hazel was instrumental in co-authoring the School District of Philadelphia’s Policy 252, which created protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students.

Jason Tsai 2019 photoJason Tsai, a young leader dedicated to working in support of food access, especially in urban food deserts, has worked as an urban agriculture fellow and food distribution coordinator at Tricycle Urban Ag, in Richmond, Virginia. There, he worked on urban farms to grow and distribute organic produce through corner store partners for food desert communities. He specializes in the art of making “good” food that is responsible to the soul and to the earth.

Marni von Wilpert 2019 PhotoMarni von Wilpert, a young attorney originally from San Diego, served in the Peace Corps in Botswana, Africa from 2006 to 2008, working on treatment, prevention, and care for children and adults living with HIV/AIDS, then went on as one of 28 young legal professionals nationwide to be awarded the Skadden Fellowship for Public Interest law, where she worked with the Mississippi Center for Justice to create the first HIV-related civil rights law practice in the state to provide free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS facing discrimination in employment, housing, and access to healthcare. Marni also worked as an Associate Labor Counsel for the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., monitoring and evaluating federal and state legislation and regulations affecting workers’ rights, wages and working conditions. Marni moved back home to San Diego in 2017 and now works as a Deputy City Attorney in the Civil Litigation Division of the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. She is a graduate of Emerge California and is running for San Diego City Council in the 2020 election cycle.

Each of these amazing people have stories to tell of their own activist journeys, as well as wisdom, experience, and advice to offer to our summit participants, on how each of us can work toward change, toward, justice, toward peace, in our own communities, in our daily lives.

In addition to the keynotes, we’re inviting submissions of creative work from all over the world, and especially interested in multilingual work, on any topic creatively exploring working toward peace in daily ways.

This year’s summit, with its conversations on the power of individual, community, and grassroots activism, exploring what we as individuals can do in our day to day lives to work toward the peace we all desire and deserve, reminds us: One person can make a difference. Together, we can change the world. We sincerely hope you’ll join us.

Mary Carroll-Hackett, Writing for Peace Adviser2Mary Carroll-Hackett is an adviser and member of the Writing for Peace Board of Directors, and the author of The Real Politics of LipstickAnimal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones, The Night I Heard Everything, Trailer Park Oracle, and A Little Blood, A Little Rain. Her newest collection of prose poems, Death for Beginners, will be out from Kelsey Books in September 2017. Learn more about Writing for Peace Adviser Mary Carroll-Hackett and her work here.

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

2019 Announcements

41716478_541593026272917_3315322037882322944_n (2)Hello friends,

We have some big changes to tell you about! Our Board of Directors is working to make Writing for Peace more accessible to readers all over the globe and whittle away at geographic and language barriers. Coming highlights include:

DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts

Writing for Peace has published six beautiful print journals, but in 2019, DoveTales is going online. We will publish two issues per year, February 1st and August 1st. You can find the Guidelines here.

2019 Youth Summit

We are inviting translations this year, and working to achieve multilingual participation. The theme for this year’s Youth Summit is “Day By Day, Hand in Hand: Seeing & Creating Peace in Daily Action.” The online event will be held on Saturday, October 12, 2019, 8am-6pm EST and is limited to 50 participants. Submissions must be received by September 15th, 2019. Learn more, here.

2019 Young Writers Contest

Our Young Writers contest is up and running! Winners will be published on August 1st, 2019, in our first online DoveTales, guest edited by Writing for Peace Adviser Patricia Jabbeh Wesley. Check out the Contest Guidelines here.

You’ll see lots of other changes this year, and we’ll keep you apprised of developments along the way. We’re looking forward to sharing an exciting 2019 with you!

Yours in peace,

Carmel

Carmel Mawle is president and founder of Writing for Peace. She writes from the northern Colorado Rocky Mountains where she lives with her husband and Max, a ten-pound border terrier mix who firmly believes he’s a mountain dog. You can find her blog at www.carmelmawle.com.

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

The Giving Season

“Through education and creative writing, Writing for Peace seeks to cultivate the empathy that allows minds to open to new cultural views, to value the differences as well as the hopes and dreams that unite all of humanity, to develop a spirit of leadership and peaceful activism.”

~Writing for Peace Mission Statement

Carmel-Laughing-1It’s almost December, the “Giving Season,” and I’m consumed with which size Legos I should buy for my 4-year-old grandson, all my grandchildren’s ever-changing clothing sizes, and what to get for the older males on my list who seem to already have everything I can think of. A gift certificate to one of the chain restaurants? Belly-dancing lessons?

The looming specter of December 31st brings out the flip-side of this month of giving – the asking.  My inbox is full of requests from nonprofit organizations, many of them desperate for the funds to continue much needed services, or to begin life-changing programs.

I’ve worked for three 501c3 nonprofits, and have always struggled to ask for financial help. When I was director of a youth orchestra, we were fortunate to have an extensive donor list. My job was to remind them of the many benefits of music for developing minds, the increased college acceptances and scholarship rates, the services and opportunities we provided to our musicians, and the cost of these programs, which didn’t come close to what we brought in through student tuition income. I wrote the letters and program asks from the bottom of my heart, and even occasionally stood on a stage and made the appeal directly, a task I absolutely dreaded. But this is the nature of running a nonprofit, and I did it because I believed we were making a difference in the lives of those young people, and our community as a whole. That was true when I was president of a chamber music association and, even more so, true today with Writing for Peace.

Because I see first hand what our need is, Writing for Peace is at the top of my husband’s and my giving list. There are other important causes we divvy out our end-of-the-year donations to (Doctor’s Without Borders among them), but the Writing for Peace mission seems imperative to me. If we can’t afford the latest super-cool sneakers for our grandchildren, maybe we can leave them a world that is a little bit kinder.

So, yes, despite my aversion to “the ask,” I’m doing it today because I know what depends on it. I owe it to our young writers, and all of our Writing for Peace family, to do what has always been difficult for me.

Our administration is board operated, and all directors and advisers work on a volunteer basis, so 100% of contributions go to support our mission. Writing for Peace is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, Federal Tax ID Number, 45-2968027. You can donate directly here.

If you are able to set a little aside for Writing for Peace, thank you. And, whether you’re able to contribute financially, or not, we appreciate all you do for us, for each other, and for a better world.

Wishing you and yours joy this holiday season.

With love and appreciation,

Carmel

Carmel Mawle is president and founder of Writing for Peace. She writes from the northern Colorado Rocky Mountains where she lives with her husband and Max, a ten-pound border terrier mix who firmly believes he’s a mountain dog. You can find her blog at www.carmelmawle.com.

Copyright © 2018 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Thanksgiving Wishes

carmel and maxDear Writing for Peace Family,

I’m thinking this morning about all of you, our wonderful directors, inspiring advisers, and amazing contributors, Young Writers and readers, with gratitude.

There are times (especially in the last two years) when discouragement takes on a life of its own, much like the cartoon characters with black clouds hovering over their heads day after day as they go about their business. What they don’t have that we do is the community, support, and encouragement of each other.

I can never feel discouraged for long when I think of all of you, approaching each day with an emphasis not on what you can’t accomplish, but what you can. You chip away at seemingly insurmountable obstacles, smile at neighbors and strangers, and do your civic duties with diligence and good cheer. The work created in this spirit adds light and wisdom to our collective consciousness and humanity as a whole, making hope a beautiful and tangible thing.

From all of us at Writing for Peace, many thanks for your ongoing support and all that you do to make this world a better place. Whether you are in the U.S. or elsewhere on this exquisite globe, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Much love and appreciation,

Carmel

Carmel Mawle is president and founder of Writing for Peace. She writes from the northern Colorado Rocky Mountains where she lives with her husband and Max, a ten-pound border terrier mix who firmly believes he’s a mountain dog. You can find her blog at www.carmelmawle.com.

Copyright © 2018 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

In This Moment, by Lacey Knight

In This Moment

By Lacey Knight

Lacey KnightI was in a waiting room this morning, my 18-month-old on my lap, when I realized the television was tuned to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the senate panel. As I intently read the subtitles, a young woman walked in and sat directly across from me. She was young and beautiful, conservatively dressed, and appeared quite self-possessed. I was suddenly self-conscious of my dirty hair, “mom” clothes, and the clearness with which I wear my emotions. I felt vulnerable sharing this moment with a stranger who, in my quick “analysis,” struck me as impermeable.

Still, I was drawn to the interview of this brave woman speaking her truths to our country. It opened a place in me that, in recent years, has been opened again and again. Her words shined a light on dark areas of my personal history. Watching her was painful, knowing that so many discredited her already. Knowing that she’ll suffer greatly for her courage. Knowing that my daughters are going to live in a time where woman are guilty until proven innocent.

My name was called and I snapped back to the waiting room, looking over sheepishly as I remembered my company. The young woman was leaning towards the T.V., her hands clasped together, the exact same look of pain streaked across her face as I know I’d been wearing on mine. She caught my eye as I stood and nodded to me, acknowledging what we had both shared.

In that moment, I wanted to shield her from the world and its harsh judgments; I wanted to hug her; I wanted to be her mom, a safe place for her. I felt extreme gratitude for Dr. Ford and her bravery. Gratitude to all those who continue to give a voice to the trauma and abuse while so many suffer in silence. Gratitude that this moment of truth was heard. Gratitude that my daughters will have champions of their own to lead them through their journeys, and gratitude that my heart was softened by it.

Thank-you, Dr. Ford.

 

Lacey Knight is a mom of three, business owner and a lover of words. She currently expresses herself through journaling, social media, coloring books and the occasional HR paperwork. As a woman business owner with an all female staff and mother to two daughters, she believes passionately in women empowering women and the power of strong community.

 

Copyright © 2018 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Let’s Catch Up!

41716478_541593026272917_3315322037882322944_n (2)While our blog has been quiet, our board and contributors have been busy. There has been much activity on our Writing for Peace Facebook page. If you haven’t had a chance to check out our 2018 DoveTales Book Launch Celebration, you’re really missing something. The vine readings are absolutely wonderful. You can go straight to our video library on the page, but we’ll also have them on our site in the next couple of weeks. We still have several promised vines from contributors and board members. We’ll keep posting them as long as they keep coming in!

Developments among migrant and refugee communities have been heartbreaking. Detained children continue to be separated from their parents at unprecedented numbers. Many of our writers are actively resisting these (and so many other) injustices. Thank you for your work, and please continue to keep us posted on your progress and stamina. Let us know how our community can support your work.

Our thoughts are with those in the path of the hurricane. Wishing you safety from the storm.

In peace,

Carmel Mawle
President and Founder
mawlecarmel@gmail.com

In Memoriam, Sam Hamill (1943-2018)

Happier times with Sam Hamill. From left to right, Phillip Richards, Sam Hamill, Carmel Mawle, and Lorraine Currelley

Happier times: (Left to right) Phillip Richards, Sam Hamill, Carmel Mawle, and  Lorraine Currelley.

In Memoriam, Sam Hamill (1943-2018)

By Carmel Mawle

Sam once told me that he thought I’d move away from writing prose. Our flights had been delayed after his reading in New York, and he’d seen a short verse I’d written for my daughter. “You’re a poet,” he said. “You just haven’t accepted it, yet.”

Coming from anyone else, I would have long ago forgotten those words. Sam was down-to-earth and approachable, but despite his lack of pretension, his contribution to the art of poetry, to the collective body of literature, and to peace activism is unparalleled. I listened to Sam, and though we had our occasional differences, I often came around to his way of seeing things. Sam always gave me the time to do that. He was one of our earliest advisers, a mentor, and a friend.

When a man like Sam Hamill dies, there should be a collective pause, a contemplative stillness. Of course, it doesn’t happen. The sun sets, and rises again, and those of us whose lives were transformed by Sam (and we are so many), are left with both an ending and a beginning.

For us, there must be a quiet moment to breathe in the cold air of this new reality – a world without Sam – and then we’ll need to gather ourselves and begin again, to continue onward without him. Through his life and writings, he left us a well-lit path. It will be our life-time task to follow it, in as many ways as we are individuals. Sam would want that for us.

I’m still writing prose – the stories he knew I would have to write – but it’s possible I’ll come around to his way of seeing things. He’s given me plenty of time.

(Photograph by Ian Boyden, 2017)

(Photograph by Ian Boyden, 2017)

Sam Hamill Official Obituary [September 5, 1943 – April 14, 2018]

When the first poetry books from Copper Canyon Press went on sale in 1972, they were revelatory showing that the humble technology of the book could be, and indeed should be, an artifact of craftsmanship itself. Copper Canyon elevated the publishing of poetry books to an art of intrinsic beauty as exemplars of the printer’s craft. One of the driving forces behind this new guild craftsmanship was poet, editor, publisher, translator and fine printer Sam Hamill who died at his home in Anacortes, WA on April 14, 2018. Mr. Hamill was 74.

Arguably no one did more for the art of poetry in all its manifestations in the latter half of the 20th century and early 21st than Mr. Hamill. Born to a carnival fry cook at the end of WWII, Hamill was put up for adoption at the age of three by a father who felt the carnival life was no place for a child. Hamill grew up in Utah, the adopted son of educated poultry farmers who had a deep love of literature and history. As such, the young orphan was steeped in the language and poetry of Shelley, Wordsworth, Keats, and Frost by the time he reached puberty. As Hamill has said in interviews, his adopted father would lull him to sleep night after night reading the canonical poems of the English language. These would stay with him for the rest of his life.

Growing up in a home where poetry was spoken out loud, Hamill in later years insisted poetry should always begin in the ear as a spoken form imbued with the rhythm of the heart. He distrusted poems that clearly came into being on the soulless medium of a computer screen with spellcheck. The many recordings of his spoken poetry on CD and tape attest to this resonant craftsmanship that began in his tympanum as a child. Hamill has been praised by his peers for having one of the finest reading voices for poetry in the English language.

In 1973, Hamill garnered a $500 award for editorial excellence for his work on the student paper at University of California Santa Barbara. Poet Kenneth Rexroth, who taught there, had taken Hamill under his wing after the younger poet ran away from home in his late teens to find his place in the poetic renaissance of the Beats on the West Coast. With prize money in hand, Hamill became the Founding Editor of Copper Canyon Press. Tree Swenson (subsequently director of the Academy of American Poets and Hugo House) and poet, translator, author and friend, William O’Daly were co-founders.

Jim Harrison has said: “Hamill has reached the category of a National Treasure though I’d doubt he’d like the idea.” This doubtless pertains because Hamill was by his own admission forever the outsider in the high-status world of Pulitzer Prizes and academic accolades. He never sought employment in academia, instead taught in prisons. He held fast to the belief that poetry was a sacred craft irrespective of the newest trends lauded by East coast taste setters. Copper Canyon in its heyday, from the early 1970s through to the latter 1990s, published some of the finest poets in any language, including David Lee, Olga Broumas, William Stafford, Jaan Kaplinski and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda, in crafted books that were singularly beautiful. Its catalog was always eclectic, unique, revelatory. It is perhaps as publisher and editor at Copper Canyon Press that Hamill made his enduring mark. Hamill has been credited with single-handedly resurrecting the careers of such masters as Hayden Carruth, Thomas McGrath, and latterly Kenneth Rexroth in the seminal work in one volume, The Collected Poems of Kenneth Rexroth (2003), which Hamill meticulously co-edited. Poets across the spectrum remain indebted to Hamill for how assiduously he championed them in their formative years. He was also a renowned letterpress printer and it infused every aspect of his work.

Hamill published four books of literary prose, seventeen books of poetry, alongside many well-regarded translations and innumerable broadsides. His early collected works, Destination Zero 1970-1995, garnered sincere praise from such luminaries as W.S. Merwin, Donald Hall and Denise Levertov. Indeed, he has been acclaimed worldwide for the lyricism of his poems, perhaps nowhere with more enthusiasm than in Latin America. His poems unfold in the direct language of the spoken word, with a clear eye to the natural world. Stripped of artifice or academic embellishment, these poems have been acknowledged as some of the finest by a minor poet in the American literary canon. He was also an able and respected translator from many languages, and his translations of the great Asian poets such as Du Fu, Li Po, and Wang Wei, and latterly haiku masters such as Basho and Issa, have never been superseded. As for Hamill’s translation of the Tao Te Ching, it is said that the: “extraordinary strength is that it has captured the poetry of Lao Tzu’s original without sacrificing the resonance of the text’s many meanings and possible interpretations.”

After an invitation to the White House in the winter of 2003 by then First Lady Laura Bush, Hamill publicly renounced the invitation and founded the organization Poets Against War (PAW), which sought to use poetry to oppose the Iraq War. Within a year, many thousands of poets had published anti-war poems on the PAW website, and a bestseller of selected poems was put out by The Nation Press under the same name. It inspired a worldwide movement of films and festivals dedicated to the poetry of pacifism. While this act of literary rebellion put Hamill squarely in the national zeitgeist, in later years he was to lament that PAW seemed to overshadow his lifelong vow to the art of poetry, to his own work as a fine poet, translator, publisher and printer. Overlooked were his twelve years as editor at the American Poetry Review or that he had served thirty years with the Port Townsend Writer’s Conference in Washington, including 10 years as their Director. In the wake of his nationally covered protest, the east coast establishment seemingly ignored all this modest poet had done for poetry spanning a fifty-five year career. To the end of his productive life, Hamill remained a fiercely independent and outspoken poet.

Hamill’s quiet generosity transformed the lives of many individuals. He never hesitated to help those in need, whether it was a gift of knowledge, time or means.

Hamill received many honors and awards, including NEA, Guggenheim, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Lila Wallace – Reader’s Digest Fund, and Woodrow Wilson Foundation fellowships, The Stanley Lindberg Lifetime Achievement Editor’s Award from the Rainier Writing Workshop – Pacific Lutheran University, Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry from the Washington Poets Association, two Washington State Governor’s Writers Day Awards, the First Amendment Award from PEN USA, a US Japan Friendship Commission Fellowship, and was awarded the Decoración de la Universidad de Carabobo in Venezuela. Hamill is predeceased by his wife of many years, the painter and artist Gray Foster.

Hamill is survived by his daughter, Eron Hamill and her husband Roger Mah of Richmond, BC and by his partner, Juniper White. As Hamill wrote in his introductory poem of Destination Zero: “It is enough, perhaps/ to say – We live here/ And let it go at that.” In the case of this wise poet, a poignant truth.

Copyright © 2018 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.