I'm sad to hear of the death of Sam Hamill, the great Zen poet, translator, founder of Copper Canyon Press, and founder of Poets Against War. We never met in person, but corresponded for years and sent each other books. I planned to visit him when I was living in Portland, Oregon and he in Washington State, but, as is the way of things, I never made it.
He was brilliant, grumpy and kind. He did what I consider the best English translation of Basho's Oku no hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Interior), and was the first, and I think best, translator into English of the Estonian poet Jaan Kaplinksi. His own poetry was astonishing. My favourite is this, written for his wife, Gray Foster (after she died, he told me it had been "a stupendously happy marriage"):
The Orchid Flower
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