Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Gary Snyder


[Gary Snyder, Prototype of Kerouac's “Dharma Bums” (1957) fictional hero leading the way sauntering by Alpine stream in Northern Cascades, Washington State's Glacier Peak Wilderness area, we went on light-day backpack to climb Glacier Peak tops, ice ax & crampons; Snyder was back from near-decade in Kyoto studying and practicing Zazen. My first mountain walk, August 1965. (Ginsberg caption) photo snapped by Martene Algiers, c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]



[Gary Snyder in his backyard hut, Berkeley, I’d met him that month referred by Kenneth Rexroth - he was studying Chinese, preparing for residence in Kyoto Zen monastery a year later, rode bicycle, prepared tea, showed me poems in springboard binder, I recognized W.C. Williams’ influence, like on mine. September 1995. (Ginsberg caption) photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]



[(Gary Snyder) Kausani, India February 1962 (...) we made pilgrimage to Buddhist sacred sites, here visiting Lama Anagarika Govinda who lived on nearby ridge. Snyder & Joanne were visiting from Kyoto, Peter & I had come from Tangier. (Ginsberg caption modified from similar image) photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]





[Gary Snyder Kyoto Summer 1963 in Cafe, at rest, Juniken-doro Street, Kita-ku section near Datoku-ji temple where he studied. (Ginsberg caption) photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]



[Gary Snyder, his small house-garden on Nishinomiya-cho, Kita-ku section near Dai-Tokuji Temple, in monk’s traveling outfit, wearing Unsui’s indigo-dyed cotton training robe (koromo), square hand-sewn Rakusu cloth hung round neck symbolic of older Indian Buddhist Patchwork robes, thick belt to guard zazen sitting posture & belly-warmth, and dark-browned Ajirokasa basket-hat stained with juice of green persimmons. Kyoto, Japan July 1963. (Ginsberg caption) photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]



[Gary Snyder, outside Shanghai, China, October 1984. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]



[Gary Snyder, 437 East 12th St kitchen table, March 1991. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]

Gary Snyder's birthday today (we draw your attention to last year's birthday posting) - 82 years old today! - Happy Birthday, Gary.

Last month, he was honored with the PEN New England's Henry David Thoreau Prize for Literary Excellence in Nature Writing. Wen Stephenson's appreciation, (in The Boston Globe), on that occasion, can be read here. Classic commentary by Gary, "Writers And The War Against Nature" appeared in the Shambhala Sun, (which also published Trevor Carolan's "The Wild Mind of Gary Snyder", a 1996 profile).

Here's an intriguing item - his keynote speech as an alumnae of Reed College (class of '51), Gary returned to Portland to attend Centennial celebrations last year.

Here's Gary introducing and reading "After Bamiyan" ("the Buddhas of Bamiyan") - ah Taliban, ah Afghanistan! - a decade (and more) now later.

For those of you in the Washington D.C. area, Gary will be reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library (don't miss it!) this coming May 14.

3 comments:

  1. His keynote speech: Gary in a suit looks incongruous. One thing about getting old, like Nietzche said, one becomes responsible for one's face. Gary's has a grizzled, wise, wry quality.

    Lama Govinda has been obscured by the avalanche of buddhist books in the last 30 years. His "Way of the White Clouds" is a wonderful book - a classic which is available for free download at archive.org

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    1. Thanks for drawing attention to Govinda's "Way of the White Clouds"..yes a great read, and good to know it's free via archive.org

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  2. May 1964 Carol and I hitchhiked to San Francisco and met the poets at Gino & Carlos bar in North Beach, incl Jack Spicer, Ebbe Booregaard, George Stanley, Richard Brautigan,others. Gary,recently back from Japan,kindly offered us a bedroom in his apartment for a week. There we met Alan Watts, Phil Whalen, Donald Allen. Thank you, Gary Snyder, for your kindness, and a wonderful introduction to the world of SF poetry. Happy, happy, 82nd birthday!

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