Kage-an Artist Retreat Center

After 35 years in Port Townsend, Sam Hamill is closing a chapter in his life and beginning another. The home, studio and library, he created in the woods near Port Townsend, Washington in the late 1970’s is being made available for sale and our vision is to create a retreat for poets, scholars and painters to build on the remarkable legacy that has been created here in that time by the poet/ scholar/editor and his wife, painter, Gray Foster.

We envision purchasing the property from Hamill and Foster, with additional funding to ensure ten years of administration to facilitate retreats by individual artists and couples ranging from one week to three months. These would be made possible through a competitive application process and through partner organizations. The retreat would be made available for rental for writing retreats, but there would be time built into the yearly calendar allowing need-based writers to stay free as Kage-an Fellows. Sam Hamill, and his estate in the event of his death, would be involved in the process of deciding what artists use the facility, thereby continuing the focus of his legacy.

The current value of the property is $350,000 and we propose a budget of $500,000, with $400,000 going to Hamill and Foster, with the remaining $100,000 earmarked for ten years of administration.

We envision writers and painters with a focus similar to Hamill’s and Foster’s legacy, including, but not limited to Engaged Buddhism, Chinese and Japanese poetry, the work of Kenneth Rexroth and other west coast poets and contemporary painters in the Northwest tradition, including those inspired by Morris Graves, Mark Tobey and others. Although writers with the focus outlined here would have primary consideration, we would ensure it becomes a place welcoming to writers and painters of varied backgrounds and scholarship and would welcome partnerships with organizations interested in helping facilitate the experience of Kage-an for serious artists.

Paul Nelson
Seattle, WA

Sam adds: “One of the major points about leaving Kage-an is my heart condition and my Drs being nearly 90 minutes away. In Anacortes they’ll be five or ten minutes away. And if we manage to pull this rabbit our of the hat, I will leave behind a very nearly complete library of my years as Editor of Copper Canyon Press, plus many others books, totaling several thousand, probably.”

About Splabman

Poet & interviewer Paul E Nelson founded SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) & the Cascadia Poetry Festival. Since 1993, SPLAB has produced hundreds of poetry events & 600 hours of interview programming with legendary poets & whole systems activists including Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Joanne Kyger, Robin Blaser, Diane di Prima, Daphne Marlatt, Nate Mackey, George Bowering, Barry McKinnon, José Kozer, Brenda Hillman & many others. Paul’s books include American Prophets (interviews 1994-2012) (2018) American Sentences (2015) A Time Before Slaughter (2009) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (2013). Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia (2015), 56 Days of August: Poetry Postcards (2017) and Samthology: A Tribute to Sam Hamill (2019) Make it True meets Medusario (2019), he’s presented poetry/poetics in London, Brussels, Nanaimo, Qinghai & Beijing, China, has had work translated into Spanish, Chinese & Portuguese & writes an American Sentence every day. Awarded a residency at The Lake, from the Morris Graves Foundation in Loleta, CA, he’s published work in Golden Handcuffs Review, Zen Monster, Hambone, and elsewhere. Winner of the 2014 Robin Blaser Award from The Capilano Review, he is engaged in a 20 year bioregional cultural investigation of Cascadia and lives in Rainier Beach, in the Cascadia bioregion’s Cedar River watershed.
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