Gary Snyder was born on May 8, 1930 in San Francisco and grew up in the
Pacific Northwest. It was while attending Reed College that he met Philip
Whalen and Lew Welch. He later studied at Berkeley and gained an affinity
for Chinese and Japanese culture and poetry.
In the mid-fifties Kenneth Rexroth introduced Gary to many of the Beat
crowd and Gary was one of the six at the Six Gallery on that famous night
at 3119 Fillmore when Ginsberg read Howl. Gary introduced his new friends
to Buddhism and mountain climbing and so impressed Kerouac that Gary will
forever be remembered as Japhy Ryder from The Dharma Bums, Jack's second
most read novel.
Gary is well known for his many decades of devotion to peace and environmentalism.
He was onstage at the original San Francisco Be-In in 1967 and he continues
to lend his name and support to noble causes to this day.
Gary was/is a Poet extraordinaire and is a Professor Emeritus at UC-Davis.
Some samples from a compilation known as the Gary Snyder Reader.
How intelligent he looks!
on his back
both feet caught in my one hand
his glance set sideways
on a giant poster of Geronimo
with a Sharp's repeating rifle by his knee
I open, wipe, he doesn't even notice
nor do I.
Baby legs and knees
toes like little peas
little wrinkles, good-to-eat,
eyes bright, shiny ears,
chest swelling, drawing air,
No trouble, friend,
you and me and Geronimo
Ah to be alive
on a mid-September morn
fording a stream
barefoot, pants rolled up
holding boots, pack on,
sunshine, ice in the shallows,
Rustle and shimmer of icy creek waters
stones turn underfoot, small and hard as toes
cold nose dripping
creek music, heart music,
smell of sun on gravel.
I pledge allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the soil
of Turtle Island
and to the beings who thereon dwell
under the sun
With joyful interpenetration for all.
POEM LEFT IN SOUGHDOUGH MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT
I the poet Gary Snyder
Stayed six weeks in fifty-three
On this ridge and on this rock
& saw what every Lookout sees,
Saw these mountains shift about
& end up on the ocean floor
Saw the wind and waters break
The branched deer, the Eagle's eye,
& when pray tell, shall Lookouts die?
(A later lookout told me this poem was still pinned up in the cabin in
THERE ARE THOSE WHO LOVE TO GET DIRTY
There are those who love to get dirty
and fix things
They drink coffee at dawn,
beer after work,
And those who stay clean,
just appreciate things,
At breakfast they have milk
and juice at night.
There are those who do both,
they drink tea.
FOR LEW WELCH IN A SNOWFALL
Snowfall in March:
I sit in the white glow reading a thesis
About you. Your poems, your life.
The author's my student,
He even quotes me.
Forty years since we joked in the kitchen in Portland
Twenty since you disappeared.
All those years and their moments -
Crackling bacon, slamming car doors,
Poems tried out on friends,
Will be one more archive,
One more shaky text.
But life continues in the kitchen
Where we still laugh and cook,
Learn about Gary Snyder by adding "The
Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry and Translations, by Gary Snyder"
to your shopping cart.