Tag Archives: Sam Hamill

Of Cacasdia: A Tribute to Sam Hamill – Noon to 2:00 p.m. PST

 

 

 

A Poetry Reading and Conversation in Celebration

of the 10th Anniversary of Writing for Peace

 

The reading is Sunday, September 26th from Noon to 2:00 p.m. PST

Based in Zoom. See the meeting information below.

Please join us for the tribute to Sam Hamill to hear some of Sam’s work, poems and essays written for Sam, and of course some stories. It will be a powerful reading and evening to honor this complex man and writer, who was the first advisor for Writing for Peace.

SAM HAMILL was born in 1943 and grew up on a Utah farm. He is Founding Editor of Copper Canyon Press and served at Editor there for thirty-two years. He taught in artist-in-residency programs in schools and prisons and worked with Domestic Violence programs. He directed the Port Townsend Writers Conference for nine years, and in 2003, founded Poets Against the War. He is the author of more than forty books, including celebrated translations from ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek and Latin. He died at home in Anacortes, Washingotn, on April 14, 2018.

Readers include: Alexis Bernaut, Lyn Coffin, Martín Espada, Jim Farmer, Cate Gable, Galen Garwood, Chris Harris, Kaaren Kitchell, Gary Lemons, Juniper Moon, William O’Daly, Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma, Ian Ramsey, Lauren Marie Schmidt, and Michael Simms, among others.

 

 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81031862607?pwd=dm1DSCtKWmFrT0JHdlBRbzFQRUYzUT09

 

Meeting ID: 810 3186 2607

Passcode: 821060

 

 

Of Cascadia: A Tribute to Sam Hamill – Readers Bios

Of Cascadia: A Tribute to Sam Hamill

A Poetry Reading in Celebration of 

the 10th Anniversary of Writing for Peace

Reader Bios

 

Alexis Bernaut is a poet, translator, and musician, born in Paris in 1977. His poetry has been published in several reviews and anthologies in France and abroad, and translated into English, Korean, Hebrew, and Romanian. In 2016, he was invited to the Seoul International Writers Festival. He is the translator of his late friend Sam Hamill, and Trinidadien novelist Earl Lovelace, among others. His first collection of poetry, Au matin suspendu, was published in December 2012. His latest book, Un miroir au coeur du brasier, was published in May 2020, and was shortlisted for the Prix Apollinaire Découverte awarded to younger poets.

Lyn Coffin   Over 30 of Lyn Coffin’s books (fiction, poetry, non-fiction, drama) have been published by Doubleday, Ithaca House and others. Her novel, The Aftermath, was published in 2020 by Adelaide Books. Her collection of formal poetry, Artwork on the Backs of Gargoyles, was published in 2021 by Transcendent Zero Press. Her plays have been performed internationally, as well as in Detroit, Boston and Seattle. She is working on a children’s book (Rainbow the Elephant and Mouse Logo) and a second novel. A short fiction of hers appeared in Best American Short Stories 1979, judged by Joyce Carol Oates. She has won several awards and has had work published in over 150 magazines and literary journals, including Catholic Digest and Time. Her poems were chosen by Judith Roche for a long ago About Place issue. Her website is lyncoffin.com and her twitter handle is @lynco. 

Martín Espada has published more than twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His new book of poems from Norton is called Floaters. Other books of poems include Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016), The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006) and Alabanza (2003). He is the editor of What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (2019). He has received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The title poem of his collection Alabanza, about 9/11, has been widely anthologized and performed. His book of essays and poems, Zapata’s Disciple (1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona, and reissued by Northwestern. A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. http://www.martinespada.net/

Jim Farmer is a Northwest Washington native who spent 37 years with the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission in several roles mostly as a Park Ranger.  During his assignment as Fort Worden State Park Manager in the early 1990’s Jim met Sam Hamill and discovered their mutual love of golf.  Golf became the basis of their connection for over 20 years.  Golfing nearly weekly until Sam couldn’t go anymore gave Jim a unique insight into Sam and his poetry.  Jim turned 74 years old this week and golfs 3-4 mornings weekly.

Cate Gable is a journalist, poet, author, and agent for  change. Born and raised in Cascadia, w/ homes in Paris, France; Tucson, AZ; and Nahcotta, WA, Cate has an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University; MA from the University of WA; BA from University of Pennsylvania (magna cum laude). She’s a weekly columnist for the Chinook Observer and has won awards for both poetry and environmental journalism (from The Bay Guardian; the Hoffman Center for the Arts; the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, Dolly Connelly Award; and a Grantham Prize for Excellence). Her chapbook, “Chere Alice: Three Lives” (Publication Studio, Portland, OR) accompanied the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library exhibit, “A Place at the Table, A Gathering of LGBT Text, Image, and Voice.” Recent poetry was selected for Hawaii Public Radio, Aloha Shorts, and has appeared in Bamboo Ridge, Bryant Literary Journal, Writers Resist, Washington 129, Lit/FUSE Twentieth, and Rain Magazine. Cate wrote the introduction for “Samthology,” a memorial anthology for Sam Hamill (Seattle Poetics Lab, 2019).

Galen Garwood was born in 1944 and spent most of his young life growing up on St. Simons Island, Georgia and in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1966, after one year of art at University of Georgia, he moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where he majored in Art and Music with a minor in English. He moved to Seattle, Washington in 1971 and began exhibiting his paintings at Foster-White Gallery in 1973.  He has exhibited his paintings in the United States, Europe, and Asia and his creative contributions have also been expressed in writing, poetry, multimedia and film. In 1976 he won First Place in Painting at the Pacific Northwest Annual Exhibition and in 1979 he received the Hassam, Speicher Award at the Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, New York. In 1995, his multimedia piece ‘Adagio’ won the Bronze Award at the International Multimedia Film Festival in Philadelphia, and in 1996 ‘Adagio’ was included in the Venice Biennale’s ‘Xenograhia, Nomadic Wall’ and again at ‘Art Affair’ in New York. His film ‘Cadmium Red Light received First Place for Narrative/Documentary at the Port Townsend International Film Festival in 2007 and his film ‘Ed and Ed’ received the First Place Award for Short Documentary for at DeReel Film Festival in Australia in 2008. Along with American poet, Sam Hamill, he published Passport, paintings and poems, published by Broken Moon Press in 1987 and Mandala, monotypes and poems, an Homage to Morris Graves, Milkweed Editions, In 2011, he published The One-Winged Body, a series of figurative photographs with poems by Peter Weltner, and the following year, again with Peter Weltner, Where Everything Is Water As Far As He Can See, Marrowstone Press. In 2014 his Maenam (Water) series of photographs were published with poems by William O’Daly, Marvin Bell, Sam Hamill, James Broughton, Peter Weltner, Linda Gregg, Emily Warn, and Jeanne Morel, as MAENAM, of Water, Of Light, Marrowstone Press. A selection from a new series of photographs, ‘The Dream Sea,’ is featured in The Road to Isla Negra, poems by William O’Daly, published by Folded Word Press in 2015. Other images from ‘The Dream Sea’ are in a published collaboration with poet, Peter Weltner, entitled Water’s Eye, Brick House Books, 2015. Since 2002, he has been living in Northern Thailand.  galengarwood.com

Chris Harris is a baker/cook, writer and Zen student living in Spokane, Washington.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaaren Kitchell’s writing life began in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where she won the fourth-grade autobiography contest. The promised prize: a trip to Europe. The delivered prize: a film about the same. She stopped entering contests, but years later, she moved to Paris. Her poems have since appeared in numerous literary journals, various anthologies, and in a fine art manuscript at the Getty Museum. She received an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction, from Antioch University, LA. She has worked as a performance artist, a tutor for blind high school students, a cook on a schooner, a bookseller in Sausalito, CA, Cambridge, MA, and NYC, and she and her late husband, Richard Beban, taught Living Mythically at the C.G. Jung Institute in L.A., at Esalen Institute, and in private workshops in the U.S. and Paris. Their blog of her essays and his photos, Paris Play, can be found at www.parisplay.com. She is Fiction Editor and Co-Poetry Editor of TheScreamOnline www.thescreamonline.com. Her first full-length book of poems, Ariadne’s Threads, will be published by Tebot Bach in fall 2021.

 

Gary Lemons has written 8 books of poetry. Original Grace is the fourth book in the Snake Quartet, which was published By Red Hen Press.  Gary received a BFA from the Undergraduate Poetry Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1973 where he studied with Norman Dubie, Marvin Bell, Donald Justice, John Berryman, William Stafford, and Diane Wakowski among others.  He currently lives in Port Townsend, WA. with his beautiful life partner Nöle Giulini and spends his time writing and gardening and doing yoga.

 

Carmel Mawle is founder of the nonprofit literary organization, Writing for Peace, and served as Editor-in-Chief of DoveTales, An International Journalof the Arts from 2013-2020. Twice nominated  for the Pushcart Prize, her short stories, essays and poetry have been published in Smokelong Quarterly, Lucid Moose Lit, KNOTS Literary Magazine and other journals and anthologies.

 

Juniper Moon cultivates handwork, as a writer, artist, and letterpress printer. Known to hit the road visiting colleges and school-age camps with co-conspirator Traveling Duende (her 200-pound table top letterpress), she believes in the power of art and handwork to change the world one hand-pulled print at a time. She founded Dwell Press in 2010.

 

William O’Daly has translated eight books of the late-career and posthumous poetry of Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda and most recently Neruda’s first volume, Book of Twilight, a finalist for the 2018 Northern California Book Award in Translation. O’Daly’s chapbooks of poems include The Whale in the Web, The Road to Isla Negra, Water Ways (a collaboration with JS Graustein), and Yarrow and Smoke. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, he was a finalist for the 2006 Quill Award in Poetry and in September 2021 received the American Literary Award from the bilingual Korean–American journal Miju Poetry and Poetics. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his poems, translations, essays, and reviews have been published in numerous journals and as part of multimedia exhibits and performances. He has received national and regional honors for literary editing and instructional design and served on the national board of Poets Against War. Currently, he is Lead Writer for the California Water Plan, the state’s strategic plan for sustainably and equitably managing water resources.  http://williamodaly.com

 

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma is an author, poet, translator,  teacher, magician, musician, and lover of life. His translation of the classical Tamil masterpiece on ethics, power, and love, The Kural: Tiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural, is forthcoming from Beacon Press in December 2021. Other books include The Safety of Edges (poems), Give, Eat, and Live: Poems of Avvaiyar (translated from the Tamil) and Body and Earth (with the artist C. F. John). He speaks and performs widely, serves as Language Consultant for the Cozy Grammar series of online video courses, and has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, 4Culture, Artist Trust, and the U. S. Fulbright Program. Pruiksma makes his home on Vashon Island, Washington, with his husband, David Mielke. thomaspruiksma.com

 

Ian Ramsey is a poet and educator based in Maine where he directs the Kauffmann Program for Environmental Writing and Wilderness Exploration. His writing has appeared in journals like Terrain.org, Off the Coast, High Desert Journal, Orion, Words & Images, and the Mountain Research Initiative. Ian, who holds an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop, has served as an artist-in-residence across North America and abroad, and he frequently collaborates with scientists internationally to communicate climate-change research in creative ways. He is an ultra-runner, sea kayak guide, and sponsored mountain athlete, and a founding board member of the non-profit Physiology First, which gives students leading-edge tools to manage anxiety and perform at a higher level. As a musician, he has been nominated for a Grammy and has shared the stage with Yoko Ono and Tony Trisha, among others. He is currently finishing a poetry manuscript, Hackable Animal, that will be published in 2022.

 

Lauren Marie Schmidt is the author of three previous collections of poetry: Two Black Eyes and a Patch of Hair Missing; The Voodoo Doll Parade, selected for the Main Street Rag Author’s Choice Chapbook Series; and Psalms of The Dining Room, a sequence of poems about her volunteer experience at a soup kitchen in Eugene, Oregon. Her work has appeared in journals such as North American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Rattle, Nimrod, Painted Bride Quarterly, PANK, New York Quarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, The Progressive, and others. Her awards include the So to Speak Poetry Prize, the Neil Postman Prize for Metaphor, The Janet B. McCabe Prize for Poetry, and the Bellevue Literary Review’s Vilcek Prize for Poetry. Her fourth collection, Filthy Labors, chronicles her volunteer teaching experience at a transitional housing program for homeless women in her native New Jersey.  Schmidt is currently at work on a Young Adult novel.

Michael Simms has been active in politics and poetry for over 40 years as a writer, teacher, editor, and community activist. He is the founder of Autumn House Press, a nonprofit publisher of books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and the founder of Vox Populi, an online gazette for poetry, politics and nature. He’s also the author of four collections of poetry and a college textbook about poetry — and the lead editor of over 100 published books. Simms has won a number of awards and fellowships, including a Certificate of Recognition in 2011 from the Pennsylvania State Legislature for his contribution to the arts. Simms has an MFA from the University of Iowa and a Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University. Simms is a childhood sexual abuse survivor, a person with autism who did not learn to speak until he was five years old, and a recovering alcoholic and drug addict with 35 years of sobriety. He lives with his wife Eva, a psychologist, in the historic Mount Washington neighborhood overlooking the city of Pittsburgh. Simms’ most recent collection of poems is American Ash.

Of Cascadia: A Tribute to Sam Hamill

Sunday, September 26th from Noon to 2:00 p.m. PST

Based in Zoom. See the meeting information below.

 

Please join us for the tribute to Sam Hamill to hear some of Sam’s work, poems and essays written for Sam, and of course some stories. It will be a powerful reading and evening to honor this complex man and writer, who was the first advisor for Writing for Peace.

SAM HAMILL was born in 1943 and grew up on a Utah farm. He is Founding Editor of Copper Canyon Press and served at Editor there for thirty-two years. He taught in artist-in-residency programs in schools and prisons and worked with Domestic Violence programs. He directed the Port Townsend Writers Conference for nine years, and in 2003, founded Poets Against the War. He is the author of more than forty books, including celebrated translations from ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek and Latin. He died at home in Anacortes, Washingotn, on April 14, 2018.

Readers include: Alexis Bernaut, Lyn Coffin, Martín Espada, Jim Farmer, Cate Gable, Galen Garwood, Chris Harris, Kaaren Kitchell, Gary Lemons, Juniper Moon, William O’Daly, Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma, Ian Ramsey, Lauren Marie Schmidt, and Michael Simms, among others.

Click here, for more information about the readers.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81031862607?pwd=dm1DSCtKWmFrT0JHdlBRbzFQRUYzUT09

Meeting ID: 810 3186 2607

Passcode: 821060

 

 

 

 

Happy Tenth Anniversary, dear Writers for Peace, and Abrazos

Dear Writers for Peace,

It’s hard to believe that August is here, but ten years ago this month we began Writing for Peace with a writing contest for ages 13-19. We’ve been combing through the years of DoveTales and our blog, selecting the pieces that most represent our journey together, from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter, immigration and the detention of child migrants, and the pandemic that ripped off the veil from so many of the world’s social inequities. As our tenth anniversary anthology takes shape, I am awestruck and humbled by the wisdom and beauty shared over the course of a decade. And there will be surprises. For years, we have said that our wonderful writers for peace hail from every continent except Antarctica. In this anthology, we will hear an important message from that icy continent.

In addition to all this, the book will include our 2021 DoveTales, Letters from the Self to the World, edited by Writing for Peace Editor-in-Chief Robert Kostuck and Guest Editor Adriana Paramo, as well as works from our 2021 Young Writers Contest winners.

The official release date for our tenth anniversary DoveTales anthology, Abrazos, is September 1st. That month, we’ll celebrate with some very special readings with Sunday LIVE Host Juniper Moon and guests. I’ll share more information about that soon, as well as how you can preorder Abrazos, dedicated to the memory of our first Adviser, Sam Hamill.

Stay tuned, and keep writing.

Carmel Mawle
Writing for Peace President and Founder


Copyright © 2021 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

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.

Seated Figure, by Sam Hamill

habitation

Seated Figure

It is a long way from there to here.
It is longer than all the roads of exile,
longer even than the silence of the heron.
The landscapes changed. Someone
numbered the dead, someone mapped the pain.

Once, they say, the animals came to us,
and licked our palms for the salt,
and looked at us with huge knowing eyes,
then turned and left
alone. And entered Paradise.

 

(Previously published in Habitation: Collected Poems, Lost Horse Press, 2014)

 

About Writing for Peace Adviser Sam Hamill

Sam Hamill, black background 1Sam Hamill was born in 1943 and grew up on a Utah farm. He is Founding Editor of Copper Canyon Press and served as Editor there for thirty-two years. He taught in artist-in-residency programs in schools and prisons and worked with Domestic Violence programs. He was the founding editor of Copper Canyon Press, directed the Port Townsend Writers Conference for nine years, and in 2003, founded Poets Against the War. He is the author of more than forty books, including celebrated translations from ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek and Latin.

Learn more about his work here.

 

 

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

With Ilaria and Francesca in Piacenza

habitation

With Ilaria and Francesca in Piacenza

By Sam Hamill

The years can be brutal––yesterday
a torrent, today just a drizzle. I sat
in the sidewalk café sipping cappuccino,
watching the morning’s passersby. The girls
found me amusing, “like a grampa,” they laughed,
“grizzled old poet against the war,”
who creaked down cobblestone streets in search
of ice cream or granita, or a newspaper.

The girls I knew at such a tender age
wanted no part of me. And now my daughter
could, indeed, be their mother. They are beautiful
and intelligent, and happy to be kind
to the foreign visitor, practicing their English.
All of their joys and heartaches will rise
in time like summer storms, but today
they are laughing, teasing, laughing as only
girls can laugh, and the sun is burning off the clouds
as Plaza Duomo fills with noisy people.

Pigeons coo in the bell tower above the cage,
for sinners like me, that swings in the morning breeze.
I tell the girls, “I sentenced a couple of writers
to that cage last night, kvetching with friends
over pizza and wine at Pasquale’s.” Down here
in sweet samsara, the girls and I get a laugh,
and the cobblestones glisten and the air grows thick
and sweet as honey. “Buon giorno,
buon giorno,” as happy people pass. Cappuccino
finished, I suggest a stroll and put on dark glasses
so Francesca and Ilaria won’t notice
a tear in an old man’s eye.

From HABITATION, Collected poems by Sam Hamill, published by Lost Horse Press.

About Writing for Peace Adviser Sam Hamill

Sam Hamill, black background 1Sam Hamill was born in 1943 and grew up on a Utah farm. He is Founding Editor of Copper Canyon Press and served as Editor there for thirty-two years. He taught in artist-in-residency programs in schools and prisons and worked with Domestic Violence programs. He directed the Port Townsend Writers Conference for nine years, and in 2003, founded Poets Against the War. He is the author of more than forty books, including celebrated translations from ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek and Latin.

For more information about Sam Hamill and his work, visit his page, here.

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Writing for Peace News

DoveTales Reprinted and Replaced

2016 DoveTales Front cover ImageDoveTales readers noticed a problem with the color images in some of our most recent  Family and Cultural Identity books. Our printer, McNaughton & Gunn, a company with a reputation for quality and attention to detail, insisted on making it right. We appreciate their integrity in this matter, as well as the opportunity to correct the little typos and errors on our end that were found after the first printing. The new books have arrived and they are perfectly beautiful. Shipping will begin in the next week, first to those who have been waiting for book orders, and then to our contributors and readers who purchased the book when it first came out. Contributor discounts will be extended through July . Thank you, friends, for your patience and support through this process, and thank you to McNaughton & Gunn for standing behind their product.

Meet Our 2016 Young Writers

Writing for Peace dreamer2016 Young Writers Contest winner and finalist profiles are beginning to appear on our website. Learn more about these accomplished young writers here.

Writing for Peace challenges young writers (ages 13–19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes. There is no fee for participation. The 2017 contest will open on September 1st, 2016. Interested school representatives and teachers can contact us at editor@writingforpeace.org for information, bookmarks, and a DoveTales ebook at no charge.

Recommended Reading From Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace Adviser“The government of President Park Geun-hye is using the National Security Law in an extreme way to ban protests and arrest activists. For example, simply speaking positively about North Korea is a crime punishable with seven years in prison.”

Newsletter: Free Prisoners Of Conscience In South Korea

 

Copyright © 2016 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

My Mother’s Funeral, A Review by Robert Kostuck

Adriana Paramo, Writing for Peace AdviserMY MOTHER’S FUNERAL

by Adriana Páramo

CavanKerry Press, 2013, 258 pp., $21.00, ISBN 1-933880-39-2

A Review, by Robert Kostuck

In My Mother’s Funeral, Adriana Páramo slips between her mother Carmen’s life before children, her own childhood memories, and the present—wake, funeral, cremation. Woven into these personal experiences is an omnipresent Columbia: the open spaces of Mariquita, the squalid poverty of Medellín and Bogotá, rival drug gangs, politics, Catholicism, the Communist Party revisited.

Objectivity is difficult to achieve in a book-length essay; Ms. Páramo, however, succeeds admirably—she gently and firmly pieces together the tapestry of the mother and daughter relationship; readers will find common themes presented in even-handed and sometimes startling prose. Her writing is educational without being didactic; emotional without being sentimental.

Politics in Colombia were harsh in the 1950s. Her rarely-seen father, ‘Mr. B’, a cachiporro (liberal), seduces the innocent Carmen, and after the wedding rushes her away from her home—a few hours ahead of the godos (conservatives). First night together is spent in a whorehouse; for the remainder of the marriage Mr. B comes and goes as he pleases, impregnating Carmen and then vanishing for months or years at a time. At one point her sister Dalila acquires a partially-decomposed adult male human skeleton—courtesy of a ‘snatcher’, recommended by the nuns—and together sister and mother boil and clean the bones. Assembled, Dalila receives her coveted A+ in anatomy and the unnamed skeleton literally hangs around the house, a possible replacement for the missing Mr. B.

The baby of the family, Adriana curls up with her mother in the kitchen or in bed, listening to the stories of the world filtered through a tabletop radio: sports, agony aunties, soap operas, tangos, boleros; Carmen singing along with the radio, Adriana, watching her mother “morph into a woman”.

“Tal vez mañana puedas comprender / Que siempre fui sincera / Tal vez por alguien llegues a saber / Que todavia te quiero. Maybe later you might understand / That I was always sincere / Perhaps someone will help you see / That I still love you.”

Childhood for Adriana, is a combination of head-long curiosity and goofy naiveté. Carmen, and to a lesser extent, her sisters, guide and guard the young Adriana. Memory is selective; what Adriana shows us is how this mother shapes her daughters: strict, efficient, economical—she maintains a poor but tidy home and life for her children. Lessons by word or example are rarely repeated; they become the very fibers of her daughter’s body and personality. Toward the end of the memoir, Adriana writes,

“Our financial situation started to improve when we moved to Medellín, and Dalila, Amanda, and Ligia got secretarial jobs that required them to wear nylons, high heels, and modest suits. Eventually they began going back to school at night, but they never stopped working, never stopped rescuing Mom and their two younger sisters from the constant panic of uncertainty. I owe everything I am to the women in my family—to my sisters and Mom. Nobody else.”

This is the heart of the memoir: what a daughter learns from her mother: how to be a girl, how to become a woman; and when that mother begins to fade from autumn into winter, how to become her mother. When Carmen, beset by Alzheimer’s, visits Adriana the wife and mother at her new home in Alaska, she relates a story about her pregnancy with Adriana so at odds with the life lessons she’d imparted over the years that her daughter feels an urge to “. . . jump into the lake and sink slowly into its frigid waters.” The fantastic and heartbreaking revelation adds another thin, sharp layer to this complex mother and daughter relationship.

Returning to Colombia in torn jeans and a gypsy blouse, Adriana arrives at the wake, faces somber and seemingly more mature sisters and a brother. Funerals are holidays for the dead, a time when far-flung family reunite and wonder aloud what went right and what went wrong. Her sisters and brother are emotional but methodical—Adriana feels like the only one with an incomparable loss—the woman who as a child promised her mother that she would always remain her little girl. A few days stretches into a painful eternity, and when the siblings return home to divide Carmen’s possessions, Adriana is nostalgic, then practical:

“I imagine landing in Miami, trying to make it through customs with a fern, a plastic chair, a flyswatter, a river stone, and a broom, and I have to laugh at my childishness. I discard my mental list. Instead I take a pair of earrings that belonged to my grandmother, (. . .) a photo of the six women—my four sisters, Mom, and me—that my brother took the day I left Colombia; the locket with a photo of my daughter that Mom wore around her neck like an amulet. I also seize the printout of Mom’s last EKG, taken two days ago.

“(. . .) I don’t know this yet but in six years I will look at this EKG and realize that the ink is fading away and with it the only existing traces of Mom’s heartbeat. I’ll have it tattooed around my left bicep, much to my family’s dismay, so that her heartbeat and mine will always be together.”

My Mother’s Funeral is the literal translation of that EKG tattoo, spanning decades, continents, and lives; a heartbeat that remains long after we scan the final page and move on into the days to come.

Robert Kostuck, Writing For Peace Guest WriterRobert Kostuck graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Masters in Education. His published work appears in the Kenyon Review, Concho River Review, Zone 3, Tiferet: Literature, Art, and the Creative Spirit, Silk Road, and others.

Writing for Peace News

Onward Into 2014!

Last year brought growth and many exciting firsts for Writing For Peace. Here’s a brief overview of 2013:

In 2013 our Advisers continued to demonstrate a commitment to peace and the power of writing through their work, their inspirational blog posts, brilliant ideas such as Mary Carroll-Hackett’s educational Facebook page for young writers, MCH-What’s Going On? and Pilar Rodriguez Aranda’s efforts to reach Spanish speaking young writers by translating our 2014 contest guidelines. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Sam Hamill‘s new and revised translated collection of Chinese poetry, Crossing the Yellow River is being published by Tiger’s Bark Press. His Selected Poems (not yet titled) will be published by Lost Horse Press in September 2014.
  • Lorraine Currelley was selected as an Artist-in-Residence for the 2014 Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide (SPARC) and as a new member of the Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers. Her Poets Network & Exchange will publish their first poetry anthology in 2014.
  • Veronica Golos is working on a new book, Root Work: The Lost Writings of John Brown and Mary Day Brown. “Of course John Brown was a great abolitionist and so was his wife, Mary and she also had 13 children. I have Ghost Code poems and Runaway poems also in the book. This is a way to make history live again, to get inside it so to speak.”
  • Richard Krawiec supports a community of writers and activists through education and his ever expanding Jacar Press.
  •  Maija Rhee Devine spoke with young people in South Korea and the United States about her award-winning books, The Voices of Heaven and Long Walks on Short Days, her experiences as a young girl during the Korean War, and her work with Korean Comfort Women.
  • Dr. Margaret Flowers continues her peace and healthcare activism. She currently serves as Secretary of Health on the Green Shadow Cabinet. Her recent article, Major Social Transformation Is a Lot Closer Than You May Realize — How Do We Finish the Job?, is also co-written with Kevin Zeese, and published on AlterNet.
  • Adriana Paramo‘s new memoir, My Mother’s Funeral, explores the volatile relationship with her mother, and their love that defies cultural forces, Bogotá street violence, and Medellin drug lords.

This is just a sampling of the wonderful work all our advisers do. Please watch our blog for their posts, follow their work, and support the poets and authors whose writings and activism encourage a more thoughtful and peaceful world.

In 2014, we look forward to hearing from Board Member Andrea W. Doray, who recently returned from Nepal, and to continued growth – including the occasional review on our blog! On this first day of the New Year, we welcome guest writer, Robert Kostuck, who reviews Adriana Paramo’s memoir, My Mother’s Funeral.

Happy New Year, Writers for Peace! And thank you for your ongoing support!

 

Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Will Stand With The Innocents? by Sam Hamill

Who Will Stand With The Innocents?

By Sam Hamill

Sam Hamill, Writing for Peace AdvisorFifty years ago, I found myself in the war-ravaged former nation of Okinawa, where some of the fiercest battles of the Pacific War had taken place, and where I began to learn of the true atrocities of the atomic bombing of Japan. I also heard there from fellow Marines first-hand accounts of the race wars in my own country, about lynchings, about Bull Conner’s dogs set on nonviolent civil rights marchers, stories I had known only from brief news accounts. I learned about how the impoverished people of Vietnam had driven out the imperialist French and now faced a growing American presence as they struggled toward their own democratic self-rule. President Eisenhower had spoken of our need “to protect our investments in tin and tungsten.”

I read Gandhi. I read Zen. I read “War is a Racket” by the Marine Corps general, Smedley Butler, who led the overthrowing of several governments himself. I read Albert Camus’s remarkable essay, “Neither Victims nor Executioners,” and I became a devout anti-war campaigner, much to the chagrin of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Fifty years have passed, each with its wars, its body counts, its “collateral damage” that strips people of names and faces and bloody bodies, leaving only numbers, numbers deemed “necessary” by the political class that overthrew democratic governments from Iran to South and Central America, always for the benefit of corporate giants-Standard Oil, the United Fruit Company.

In the past twenty years, following Bush Senior’s bombing of Iraq, Clinton bombed Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan; George W. Bush, bombed Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Somalia; Barack Obama has bombed Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. And now the drum-beating to wage war in Syria grows ever louder. The President says we have no definable objective and yet bombs are necessary once again. And once again, as I have every year for half a century, I call out the corporate rulers for their murders and lies because without justifying mass murder and justifying torture and lies, war would be impossible to wage. I ask today, as I did ten years ago, “Who will speak for the conscience of our country?” Who will stand with the innocents we have damned?

True Peace  

Half broken on that smoky night,
hunched over sake in a serviceman’s dive
somewhere in Naha, Okinawa,
nearly fifty years ago,

I read of the Saigon Buddhist monks
who stopped the traffic on a downtown
thoroughfare
so their master, Thich Quang Dúc, could take up
the lotus posture in the middle of the street.
And they baptized him there with gas
and kerosene, and he struck a match
and burst into flame.

That was June, nineteen-sixty-three,
and I was twenty, a U.S. Marine.

The master did not move, did not squirm,
he did not scream
in pain as his body was consumed.

Neither child nor yet a man,
I wondered to my Okinawan friend,
what can it possibly mean
to make such a sacrifice, to give one’s life
with such horror, but with dignity and conviction.
How can any man endure such pain
and never cry and never blink.

And my friend said simply, “Thich Quang Dúc
had achieved true peace.”

And I knew that night true peace
for me would never come.
Not for me, Nirvana. This suffering world
is mine, mine to suffer in its grief.

Half a century later, I think
of Bô Tát Thich Quang Dúc,
revered as a bodhisattva now–his lifetime
building temples, teaching peace,
and of his death and the statement that it made.

Like Shelley’s, his heart refused to burn,
even when they burned his ashes once again
in the crematorium–his generous heart
turned magically to stone.

What is true peace, I cannot know.
A hundred wars have come and gone
as I’ve grown old. I bear their burdens in my bones.
Mine’s the heart that burns
today, mine the thirst, the hunger in the soul.

Old master, old teacher,
what is it that I’ve learned?

From Border Songs (Word Palace Press, 2012)

Used by permission.

 About Sam Hamill

Sam Hamill, Writing for Peace AdvisorSam Hamill is the author of more than forty books, including fifteen volumes of original poetry (most recently Measured by Stone and Almost Paradise: New & Selected Poems & Translations); four collections of literary essays, including A Poet’s Work and Avocations: On Poetry & Poets; and some of the most distinguished translations of ancient Chinese and Japanese classics of the last half-century. He co-founded, and for thirty-two years was editor at, Copper Canyon Press. He taught in prisons for fourteen years and has worked extensively with battered women and children. An outspoken political pacifist, in 2003, declining an invitation to the White House, he founded Poets Against War, compiling the largest single-theme poetry anthology in history, 30,000 poems by 26,000 poets. Learn more about Sam Hamill here.

Take Action

Write your Representatives: Prevent an Attack on Syria Now

Hit the Streets: Americans Don’t Want A War in Syria—And They’re Working Hard to Prevent One, by Kevin Zeese and Writing for Peace Adviser Margaret Flowers

Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace News

Congratulations To Our New Young Advisers

Writing for Peace is pleased to introduce two remarkable young peace activists, the founding members of our new panel of Young Advisers. Both have shown an extraordinary commitment to peace. Check their pages and watch our blog for their inspirational posts.

Natan Blanc, Writing for Peace Young AdviserNatan Blanc is an Israeli who refused to serve in the IDF (Israeli army) “because of its actions against the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.” Natan held fast to his convictions, despite being jailed ten times.

Lyla June Johnston, Writing for Peace Young AdviserLyla June Johnston is a Navajo poet and peace activist from Taos, New Mexico, who has found her home in the service of humanity.

Writing for Peace is accepting nominations of young activists, writers, and artists, for our new panel of Young Advisers. Please send nominations by email, along with the reasons for your nomination, and contact information to editor@writingforpeace.org, subject heading: Young Adviser Nominations.

2014 Young Writers Contest

Writing for Peace Young Writers' ContestThe Writing for Peace 2014 Young Writers Contest deadline is March 1st, 2014. Our prestigious Judges Panel includes Robin Black, fiction; Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction; and David Mason, poetry. Submission guidelines here.

 DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceDoveTales Call for Submissions

Writing for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here.

Support Writing for Peace

DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, "Occupied" 2013Help us reach out to schools and young writers by purchasing a copy of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts to gift to your local high school or junior high. Let us know you are gifting your copy, and we’ll include extra bookmarks (beautifully designed by artist-in-residence, PdLietz). Purchase our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.