Tuesday, February 18
Zen Poet's Voice of Dissent Heard by Anti-War Literati
Chris McGann, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 18, 2003
PORT TOWNSEND -- Sam Hamill, a reclusive former Marine turned Zen Buddhist poet, is an unlikely spokesman for the anti-war poetry movement he started almost by accident.
Hamill triggered a nationwide artistic uprising when he declined a White House invitation to a literary symposium Feb. 12, instead asking fellow poets to write protest poems.
That act of dissent continues to gain momentum, and yesterday Hamill braved a blizzard to join other poets in the limelight of New York City's Lincoln Center for public readings to raise money for anti-war efforts.
Scheduled to share the stage before a packed house with Hamill: former U.S. poet laureates Stanley Kunitz and Robert Pinsky and Pulitzer Prize winners C.K. Williams and Mark Strand, to name a few -- heady company for a man who describes himself as a bookish recluse who spends most of his time "talking with dead Chinese poets."
The New York event, "Poems Not Fit for the White House," and the national movement of nearly 9,000 poets came together after Hamill and several other poets declined to attend the White House symposium on Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes. First lady Laura Bush canceled the event [...]