Saturday, July 21, 2007
BEN HIATT [1942-2007]
January 29, 1942-June 16, 2007
Ben died June 16 with his wife and sons at his side. There was no service.
To borrow from the bio on Rooting For the Rooster (Rattlesnake Press, 2005), Ben’s last chapbook :
He began publishing his original poetry in 1958 at the age of 16. He has now published poetry in six different decades, including somewhere around 30 books and chapbooks of poetry and one collection of stories and essays, The View From Mt. Aukum. He has received several literary awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Cash Award in 1970 as one of “America’s Most Promising Younger Poets”. In 1972, he was listed in Who’s Who in America.
During the early and mid-‘60’s, Ben Hiatt was an integral part of the “Mimeo Revolution” in small press publishing. In the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s he was a pioneer in what was to later become known as “Typewriter Offset” publishing. He was also an influential editor/publisher who published several literary magazines, including The Grande Ronde Review, Seared Eye, Nimbus Basin, Sacramento Poetry Express, The Mt. Aukum Review, The Hangtown Fry, and The Mountain Trader, a general-interest regional monthly magazine.
Over the years, Ben has designed, printed and bound scores of books by other poets and writers under several imprints, including Grande Ronde Press, Island City Press, The Sacramento Poetry Exchange, and Mt. Aukum Press.
Ben Hiatt also worked with California Poets in the Schools for fifteen years, teaching poetry writing to students in all grades from kindergarten to high school.
Ben was a truly memorable man. In the words of Ben’s old friend, Annie Menebroker:
Ben was a loveable and difficult personality and upon hearing he was gone, a whole community did the wave of sorrow.
Poems by Ben Hiatt