Destination Zero: Poems 1970-1995

Sam Hamill, Author White Pine Press (NY) $25 (236p) ISBN 978-1-877727-55-9
As founding editor of Copper Canyon Press, Hamill has encouraged a generation of young American poets. But his own spare, haunting works are mostly out of print and overlooked, a state this expansive collection should remedy. The works here, featuring a plain-spoken English that is heavily influenced by his studies and translations of Japanese and Chinese poetry, generally consider aging (``this slow, insistent tolling/ of our flesh'') and death (``It is beautiful and sad/ the way we,/ dying/ make monuments of the dead''). Arranged in roughly chronological order, the poems chart Hamill's development from early autobiographical pieces that examine his history and its particular contexts (``Dead Letter'' and ``Man in the Landscape'') to later, longer works (``Requiem'' and ``Blue Monody'') that exhibit his engagement with Eastern thought and poetry and explore an interior terrain. Taken together, Hamill's depiction of his travels and loves, his fear of death and love of life become one long argument that, as he notes, ``The untouchable touches us./ What is beautiful alters.'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-1-877727-53-5
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