March 31 '06
As a Seattle poet, I appreciated John Marshall’s article (March 30th) covering Copper Canyon Press’s history and development, but I take issue with his one-sided characterization of founder Sam Hamill as “a cantankerous, abrasive person, who often seems steeling for a fight and usually finds it.” I’ve never been a card carrying member of the Sam Hamill fan club (and it is a large one), but in terms of Copper Canyon’s success as an international poetry house, representing the likes of Mahmoud Darwish, Ruth Stone, Ted Kooser, Lucille Clifton, Octavio Paz and a host of others, Hamill’s “outsized personality,” as Marshall describes it, is quite beside the point. He built the press and deserves more credit than Marshall gives him.
Esther Altshul Helfgott
(Note: John Marshall of the P.I. is not the John Marshall of Open Books).