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Sam Hamod Papers

Identifier: MsC1176

Scope and Contents

The Sam Hamod Papers consist of papers detailing Hamod's life as an Arab American poet. Hamod's poetry makes up the majority of the papers though there are several manuscripts written by Hamod critiquing and discussing other writer's poetry. Additionally, handwritten notes, publications, correspondence, and biographical materials are included.


  • Majority of material found in 1980-2020

Biographical / Historical

Hamode Samuel Hamod was born on February 16, 1936 in his parents' boarding house hotel in Gary, Indiana. His father immigrated to the US from Syria sometime between 1914 and 1920, and his mother was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa to parents who immigrated from Syria to the US around 1905. Hamod spent his childhood in his parents' boarding house hotel and eventually their tavern where he would interact with people of a variety of nationalities as it was common for immigrants to come to Gary, Indiana to work in the steel mills there. He also spent a lot of time in the Islamic Mosque, learning Arabic and about his parents' religion. Both of these experiences influenced his writing later in life.

In 1957, Hamod graduated with a Bachelors degree in communications from Northwestern University and in 1960, he graduated with a Masters degree in communications from the same university. By the late 1960s, he had entered the Iowa Writers' Workshop to study poetry and creative writing. Following graduation from the program in 1973, he went on to teach at various universities.

In addition to his academic and creative pursuits, Hamod took an interest in the Arab Muslim community and the related politics. To give a voice to this community, he started the Third World News alternative newspaper that gave worldwide coverage. He was also the director of the Islamic Center of Washington DC and America and in this position, he advised the US State Department on Middle Eastern Affairs.

Hamod was the Princeton Writer's Workshop in the last few decades of his life, where he continued to write poetry about his heritage. He died on June 22, 2021 at the age of 85 in Washington, DC.


15 Linear Feet

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)