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 concisionas 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.'"
"Written from the point of view of a cranky, wandering poet of the old kindpart sage, part soul of the Buddha, and part rascalthese 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."
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