Poetry News

Gary Snyder: Poet on the Peak

By Harriet Staff

Gary Snyder, July 2002. Photo by John Suiter.

On a rainy, misty, cold morning chez Harriet, we thought we'd ladle up some Gary Snyder to rejuvenate the soul. We'll starty with this interview with Jonathan Bastian on Louisville's WFPL. Bastian introduces their interview, writing:

Snyder is a naturalist, an essayist and devout Buddhist. At the age of 26, he said goodbye to the Beats in San Francisco, and lived for seven years in Japan, studying at a Zen monastery. He won the Pulitzer prize in poetry in 1974.

His most recent book is a collaborative effort featuring Kentucky's Wendell Berry. The book is called, "Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder." Snyder and Berry met in the 1970s, and since then, have been corresponding regularly over myriad issues, while always circling back to nature and agriculture.

For your audio pleasure, please give this a listen:


Now for the visual component: a new photo-essay just launched at the Kerouac Center for the Public Humanities that builds off of John Suiter's book Poets on the Peaks, published by Counterpoint in 2002. The images for the book were shot on color film but reproduced as duotones. The photo-essay returns the images to their original color format and includes 20 new images not included in the book. In addition of some great shots of Snyder (one of which is pictured above), are photos of Philip Whalen (young and old) and Walter Lehrman’s never-before-published 1956 portrait of a contemplative Jack Kerouac just before he headed off to his fire lookout on Desolation Peak. They're gorgeous, wonderful images. Go now!

Originally Published: May 16th, 2014