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Measured by Stone


These poems exhibit the range of Sam Hamill's celebrated practice and vision, from philosophical and discursive elements to the intensely lyrical, from his continuing poems of praise (and elegies) for fellow poets to the clear influence of the Zen classics he has so notably translated.

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These poems exhibit the range of Sam Hamill's celebrated practice and vision, from philosophical and discursive elements to the intensely lyrical, from his continuing poems of praise (and elegies) for fellow poets to the clear influence of the Zen classics he has so notably translated.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"What I like about Sam Hamill's poetry is its not being in the least laidback and cool. In it, tears, laughter, anger, and sorrow contend, all set forth with passionate candor. Hamill's deep intimacy with classical literature of the West and the Orient gives many of his poems a graceful concision—as in the second part of his book, 'Lessons from Thieves.' 'My poetry will very likely die with me,' the poet declares; but that isn't going to happen if Ezra Pound was right and 'In poetry, only emotion endures.'"

—X. J. Kennedy

"Throughout Sam Hamill's large body of work, there are poems that reach the sublime. They are powerful, combining an exquisite sensibility with directness of speech. Some of his lines are at the heart of poetry, and to read them is pure joy: 'Sustained by a few metaphors— / the tale, the telling, / the mind's music, the heart's vision.'"

—Grace Schulman

"Written from the point of view of a cranky, wandering poet of the old kind—part sage, part soul of the Buddha, and part rascal—these poems delight, surprise, and teach important lessons of love, compassion, generosity of spirit, and ultimate patience, which the great teacher called 'the supreme austerity.' Because of this, and because Sam Hamill is one of the essential poetic and political voices of our time, these are necessary, no, essential poems that you will go back to again and again."

—Bruce Weigl

Publishers Weekly

Well known as the founder of Copper Canyon Press and the head of the protest group Poets Against the War, Hamill has also proven himself as a prolific poet and translator. This 16th volume of accssible, outspoken free verse pays frequent homage to Japanese and Chinese classics, and to the 20th-century poets Hammill has admired: Martin Espada, Kenneth Rexroth and especially Denise Levertov. Like his heroes, Hammill presents a model of honest, consistent, undisguised political engagement: he articulates not only a vision of peace with justice, not only his relish for work to achieve that vision, but his sense of the role that poetry can play: "We need the tale/ that spins the spell that gives us/ eyes to see." He understands, too, that even the most energetic and committed poetry of protest may not always seize the day. Yet the power sympathetic readers are likely to find in his new collection has little to do with self-doubt, and everything to do with the sense that poetry can speak out clearly and try to change the world at least a little bit: "Here's to a poets' revolution," he toasts, "to the joy/ of being always on the side that loses." (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931896405
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Pages: 90
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sam Hamill is the author of fourteen volumes of original poetry. He has published three collections of essays and two dozen volumes translated from ancient Greek, Latin, Estonian, Japanese, and Chinese. He is the founding editor of Copper Canyon Press and director of Poets Against War. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
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Table of Contents

Part One: Eyes Wide Open
Ars Poetica
Eyes Wide Open
America, Mon Amour
With Ilaria and Francesca in Piacenza
Arguing with Milosz in Vilnius
On the Death of James Oscco Annamaria
Canto Amor

Part Two: Lessons from Thieves
Taos, 1958
Testament of the Thief
Lessons from Thieves
Nine Gates
At the Japanese Exhibition
A Word in Farsi
Sweeping the Garden
A Question Answered

Part Three: Measured by Stone
Gazing Down the Fiarway, I Think of Po Chu-i
To Gray on Our Anniversary
To Marvin Bell
A Mountain
In Memoriam, Nancy Foster
To Quincy Troupe
To Doris Thurston on Her Eightieth Birthday
Bidding Farewell to a Friend
Awakening in Buenos Aires
Strolling Calle Florida
On the Third Anniversary of the Ongoing War in Iraq
Poem on His Sixty-third Birthday
Homeland Security
Cairo Qasidah
To WIlliam Slater

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