Gary Snyder, A Short Biography
(Dedicated to the epic-life, spirit-being, and visionary works of Gary Snyder)
To date, only Gary Snyder's visionary power, has had the depth and breadth of vision to "acknowledge" L. S. Heatherly's "truly ground-breaking .. vision." Called "America's leading Nature writer ( Los Angeles Times 1996 ), Snyder is both ecological poet-philosopher, publishing twenty-one books, translated into some nineteen languages. He was a founding Beat poet in the 1950s Beat generation, associating with Allen Ginsberg, Jerry Kerouac, Philip Whaylan, Lew Welsh, William Buroughs, and others. He declined the label of "beat poet". Taking a degree in Anthroplogy, he continued to chart his own unique exploration into understanding Nature, humanity and their relationship. He was destined to carry increasing numbers with him.
For most of the period of 1956 through 1969, Snyder lived in Japan, his life and studies there interupted by lengthy visits back to the the United States, and world travels. He spent six months traveling throughout Asia, and traveled through India, accompanied by Allen Ginsgerg and Peter Orlovsky. Snyder became and remains a Zen Buddist. He returned to live in his birth country in 1969, His quest to find an Earth-place suitable for his original, full experience of human being and time came to an end upon establishing a farmstead on the San Juan Ridge in the Northern Sierra Nevada. There, for himself, new wife and family, he built his own house, 'Kitkitdizze' in 1971.
Snyder became a relutant leader of the "counterculture", and proceeded to become in 1980, one of the founders of the Deep Ecology Movement, along with Arne Naess, Bill Devall, George Sessions, Delores La Chapelle, Michael Zimmerman, Allen Drengson, and Robert Aitken. Snyder was awarded the 1975 Pulitzer Prize in Poerty for his volume of poems, Turtle Island, (an Amerindian term for the continent of North America). In May of 2008 he received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, adding it to numerous other prizes garnered during his lifetime: a life-journey of graspings for, and affirmations of, "how to be" in the world. From about 1989 until 2002, Snyder spent half of each year at the University of California, Davis, teaching Ethno Poetry, Creative Writing, and Literature of the Wilderness. Recent books include Practice of the Wild, 1990,(essays), The Gary Snyder Reader, 1996, Mountains and Streams Without End, 1998 ( a forty year-long work of poetry), Danger on Peaks, 2004, and Tamalpais Walking, 2009, are robust, insightful and eloquent reflections, largely derived from his long-running quest for communing and reunion with Earth's Nature and Her human nature. In 2010, John J. Healy's documentary film, The Practice of the Wild, celebrated Snyder's life and works, debuted at the Francisco International Film Festival. Gary S. Snyder, at age 82 has remained active, as of this 4/7/2013 update of this Short Biography.
Creative Commons 2006-2013