Gary Snyder – Melbourne Poetry Festival 17/10/1981

Poet : Gary Snyder
Label : Counter Culture Chronicles
Year : 2020
C-60 cassette
Design : André Koolmees
The cassette comes with a xeroxed insert
Edition of 70
Postage & Packing not included
€ 8.00
Postage & packing not included

Gary Snyder (1930) is an American poet, author, translator and environmental activist. Snyder was born in San Francisco but raised in Washington state and Oregon, where he developed his love for literature and nature and his interest in Native American peoples. Snyder entered Reed College, Portland in 1947 and published his first poems there the next year. He graduated with degrees in anthropology and literature in 1951. After having worked as a timber scaler at Warm Springs Indian reservation and having become interested in Zen Buddhism, Snyder returned to his native San Francisco to immerse himself in poetry but would continue to do odd jobs in the rural parts of Oregon and Washington each summer. In 1953 Snyder enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley to study Asian culture and languages and won a scholarship for a year of Zen training in Japan in 1955. Once there, Snyder studied Japanese and officially became a Buddhist. The following decade Snyder divided his time between California and Japan, becoming a prominent exponent of the San Francisco Renaissance and hooking up with the burgeoning Beat scene on one side of the Pacific and steeping himself deeper in Zen on the other. In 1986 Snyder became a professor in the writing program of the University of California, Davis, but in his own work shifted focus from poetry to environmental issues the following decades. Snyder was awarded the Levinson Prize from the journal Poetry, the American Poetry Society Shelley Memorial Award (1986), was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1987), and won the 1997 Bollingen Prize for Poetry and, that same year, the John Hay Award for Nature Writing.

The cassette released by Counter Culture Chronicles in 2020 contains a recording of Gary Snyder in Melbourne, 1981. Snyder is not so much heard reading his poems as giving them breath and soul. They come alive by means of his warm voice, sense of rhythm and personal experience that underly his poetry. The poems range from Changing Diapers to fragments of Snyder’s epic poem Mountains and Rivers without End, which took forty years to finish and wasn’t completed until 1996.

Gary Snyder - Melbourne Poetry Festival 17/10/1981