Sunday, 15 November 2015

Gary Snyder

Beat poet, member of the San Francisco Renaissance, spiritual poet, political poet, eco poet - Gary Snyder fits all these categories and none.

As one of the six poets who read at the historic Six Gallery reading in San Francisco in 1955 which helped launch the Beat movement, he is often associated with the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure and Philip Whalen, yet as Hoover notes in the anthology: “unlike many of the Beats, […] he rarely deals in urban subjects.” Instead Snyder’s writing is far more diverse as he is equally interested in the politics of ecology, performance, and non-western cultures.

Snyder has authored numerous volumes of poetry, including Axe Handles (1983), for which he received an American Book Award and Turtle Island (1974), which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

He was the recipient of the 2012 Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement by the Academy of American Poets. He is a professor of English at the University of California, Davis.

Links:  - London Review of Books feature including podcast - Guardian profile

My below poem took its inspiration from Snyder’s “As for Poets”.

~ - ~

The Space Poet

The Space Poet has grown old and frail
on his wait for the Space Age.
His Space Hands are shaky and thin
in his giant, white Space Gloves.
He cannot even push the right Space Buttons
anymore to navigate the Space Ship on its course
or write about what he saw in Space
all that he saw in Space

from a distance

when it was too close
for us.

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