We are saddened to announce the passing of Sam Hamill — poet, translator, and a Founding Editor of Copper Canyon Press. He was 74.
Hamill co-founded Copper Canyon Press in 1972, fostering the growth of poets at many stages of their careers in his more than three decades as Editor. In 2003, Hamill initiated the Poets Against War movement in response to the United States invasion of Iraq; the movement yielded a collection of protest poetry from over 13,000 poets from around the world. A celebrated poet and translator in his own right, his most recent collection is Habitation: Collected Poems (2014, University of Washington Press). Sam’s poetry has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
“Through his advocacy, social consciousness, political engagement, and acts of resistance, he set a model that the Press still engages today,” says Copper Canyon Press Editor-In-Chief Michael Wiegers. “Sam was a passionate defender of those he loved, and had a determined, yet open mind when it came to new discoveries. He was a mentor, friend, and model for living with a great commitment to poetry.”
We — and poetry readers everywhere — are indebted to this commitment, and to the abiding impact of his passion and vision on American letters.
A memorial for Sam will be held in conjunction with the official release of his final book, After Morning Rain (Tiger Bark Press) on May 15th, between 3:00 and 9:00 pm. Please email MiddlepointPress@gmail.com for further details. For those wishing to honor Sam, his family suggests a donation to your local Habitat for Humanity.