Saturday, January 15, 2005

An Open Letter from Sam Hamill

New Years Day, 2005

Dear Friends:

The war drags on. Fallujah has been destroyed in order to save it, shades of Vietnam. A man who presented the argument in favor of ignoring the Geneva accords, a man who would authorize torture, is now our Attorney General. More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, many times more wounded, homeless And American soldiers who have served their tours of duty are being post facto drafted to remain in combat.

We can look forward to Bush’s new secretary of state continuing to who knows what? And there will be supreme and other high court appointments, and of course a Patriot Act II, with attendant incursions into our constitutional rights. Tax cuts for the rich? Permanent. The environment? The worst policies in our history. What a ghastly litany.

Four more years, indeed.

A number of organizations are encouraging January 20 demonstrations and teach-ins and contra-Bush celebrations around the world. I hope you will all join me in joining them.

Check out , and please post any events scheduled for that day. The more we can reach out and work with other organizations, the broader the audience for poetry and the broader our message of peace.

We’d like to post a list of host organizations working in cooperation with Poets Against the War to make that day memorable.

As of January 1st, I am leaving Copper Canyon Press. Over the coming months, I will devote a lot more time to working with PAW board members to build a sound infrastructure and strengthen our organization.

Like kindred organizations in countries around the world, we have reminded millions of people of the noble traditions of poetry, of its role in every culture. I have seen time and again tears of gratitude in the eyes of the Italians, French, Lithuanians, etc, and have received innumerable messages of hope, support and kinship from all over the world. These people are grateful to be reminded that (at least) half of the U.S. objects to the direction this country’s taken, and that we are eager to listen to and work cooperatively with them so that all of our voices (and various positions) may be heard while we stand together.

In the ecology of the soul, thrift is ruinous. We look forward to a productive new year filled with mindful actions, generosity of spirit, heartfelt compassion, and of course a lot of good poetry.

This winter solstice I will close with a handful of poems by Soufie, who is 12 years old and lives in Tehran and likes haiku and wants to learn Japanese and live in Japan. The translations are by the Iranian editor Ali
Samavati (with a little help from me).


Sam Hamill


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