Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sam Hamill is Coming to San Jose

Ever heard of Poets Against War?

Ever heard of Copper Canyon Press?

Sam Hamill is the founder of both. And he's coming to San Jose next week through the organization I co-direct, the Center for Literary Arts (CLA).

Poets Against War, the largest poetry anthology every published, is hosted here. It began when Sam Hamill declined Laura Bush's invitation to the White House and instead called for poetry against war and for peace. Read more about that at the bottom of this page. To submit a poem, click here.

Sam has a new book out from Curbstone Press, Measured by Stone. Here's a poem from it:

To Gray on Our Anniversary

I've relished years of bliss with you
despite the nefarious Hells
this suffering world has put us through.

I know you're not fond of growing old,
and what pain's to come, only time will tell.
Still, you are my comfort in the cold

of Odyssean storm-tossed seas,
my bride, my muse, my Penelope.

Sam is also a prolific translator of poetry from all over the world, with a specific interest in Chinese poetry Here's an example:

Despair by Meng Chiao (751-814), trans. Sam Hamill

Despise poetry, and you’ll be named to office.
But to love poetry is like clinging to a mountain:

frozen, holding tight, facing death,
days of sorrow followed by sorrow.

The bourgeoisie are jealous of those
who love poetry: they flash teeth like knives.

All the old sages are long since dead,
but bureaucrats still gnaw their bones.

Now I’m frail, dying like a frond.
All my life I sought a noble calm,

a calm I could never achieve.
And the noisy rabble mocked me.

After Sam visits San Jose State, I'll write more about meeting him and the event itself.

If you happen to be in the Bay Area, come and see him at this free event. It takes place Wednesday September 12 (just one day short of 9-11) at 7:30 p.m. in San Jose State University's Engineering Auditorium, Room 189.

Peace out.
Post a Comment