Sam Hamill was born in 1943 and at the age of 3, was adopted from foster care by a family from Utah. Early experiences with violence, theft, jail time, and boot camp were offset by his growing interest in poetry. He attended Los Angeles Valley College and the University of California in Santa Barbara. As a UCSB student, Hamill won a $500 award for producing the best university literary magazine in the country. With that money he left UCSB and co-founded the all-poetry Copper Canyon Press with Bill O'Daly and Tree Swenson. Hamill was editor-printer for the press from 1972 until 2004. He has written more than a dozen collections of poetry including Destination Zero: Poems 1970-1995, Gratitude, Dumb Luck, Almost Paradise: New and Selected Poems and Translations, and Measured by Stone. He also published several collections of essays and numerous translations including A Poet's Work and Crossing the Yellow River: 300 Poems from the Chinese. He has taught in prisons, in artist-in-residency programs, and has worked extensively with battered woman and children. He has won two Washington Governor's Arts Awards, the Stanley Lindberg Lifetime Achievement Award for Editing, and the Washington Poets Association Lifetime Achievement Award for poetry.