Happy Birthday Gary Snyder!

One of the few remaining members of the Beat Generation, Gary Snyder was born on this day in 1930. That makes him now 80 yrs old.

Snyder is well known around the globe for his wilderness-inspired poetry, and association with Buddhism.

He studied in Japan and travelled throughout Asia, seeking enlightenment. The things he discovered have profoundly influenced his poetry.

Gary Snyder’s travels were documented in the sixth issue of Beatdom, and in issue four we “interviewed” him.

His most well known works include Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems. In 1975 he won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

From Modern American Poetry:

Snyder’s poetry blends America’s native past with the grandeur and detail of nature, and the mental disciplines of Zen Buddhism: his long apprenticeship in the latter has harvested a tough simplicity and freshness of expression (at its best in Cold Mountain Poems, San Francisco, 1965), a trust in the way words lead him, the faith of a traveller through an interior, whether continental or psychological. He writes in the first person, as individual in the wilderness, but the beauty and glory of the wilderness allows that individual the status of common man. He tells no tales: what he says is what he heard or saw; imagination is not for invention, but for finding the forms of expression that most perfectly mirror the world outside. For Snyder, symbol and metaphor cause a distancing from the thing itself: as Pound suggested, the thing itself is at least enough.

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