Gary Snyder, writer, poet



I only knew jack personally in an intimate way for those few months from the fall of 55 into May of 56 when I set sail for Japan I never saw him again and it was like it was like a brief campout together when we shared that cabin in Marin County through the spring of that year practiced meditation together talked to Buddhist texts wrote poetry and drank a lot of cocaine and then I left now at that time all that Jack and I were doing together were practicing mountains practicing wood cutting practicing flowers and birds and practicing Buddhist studies does the Dharma bumps is that a really accurate story or it is it was a lot of it this made some of it's a novel some of it reflects things that happen but even the reflection is novel to like Burroughs would say I mean did you know he was gonna write a book about yeah he told me toward the end I'm gonna write a book about you girl you're gonna be really famous really do you think he had a sense of himself as being a major novelist I mean it's like yeah I do at that time even and what had a clear sense of his skill his power his vocation and his energy and that and that there was something that he was going to be saying you know way it's like there's this funny kind of worship you know like what he does that in the novel and that's he plays that in some of the other novels too where he makes his first person singular into kind of a naive character that elicits information from people by pretending not to know and he didn't do that what much with me in person although it's true he was real naive about some things he didn't really know what was involved in going backpacking and hiking and climbing it was all new to him but he was a quick learner and he didn't know much about nature or that you could know anything about nature really you know in a specific way and so spending some time on the spring bird migrations and the many species that were coming through in Marin County that year 500 a year come to Marin County on the Pacific Flyway so we were checking loft species as they came through that little shack and Jack really appreciated all that information like we were cutting some eucalyptus and splitting eucalyptus for firewood for the stove and he was just like a kid now learning how to start a chainsaw how to handle a maul was wonderful same way with when we went backpacking well I was gonna say we did another trip to herbicides to the High Sierra we did a a two night maybe camping trip hiking right from Homestead Valley up over Mount Tam and camping over in the drainages on the north side of town with Pius there's local places and swinging around and coming back was Kerouac really is frightened I mean that there's there's a thing where interesting no that's part of his storytelling huh because he says I was a coward was this time the Buddha known as the coward but at least I have joy or something like that he likes to play with that he's an athlete yeah did you think of him as an intellectual no but well read to make the distinction a very well-read person in a very sharp person with a critical acuity when he wished to employ it but not like a practising intellectual which is a style as all it is the Buddhist metaphor yeah suffering impermanence the first noble truth that everything is impermanent and that we must find our joy and our freedom in suffering finally he swung around through that to the Buddhist understanding of that and it's all through his writing and then settled back into maybe the more familiar comfort of Catholic metaphors now you ask me did he seem very American and I said yes he said why and I was ruminating on on how to answer that it was in his his physical health and strength in his unconscious grace in his childlikeness which was real a lot of the time and his openness to experiencing new things and learning new things his paradoxical joy in a kind of freshness in the world paradoxical because at the same time he was aware of suffering in impermanence and maybe all of that is sort of American and a total absence inject of anything elite or yuppie or academic or intellectual or any of that posturing at all that we associate with learned people middle class white people he was more like your aunt you know yeah sitting at a table in the kitchen your grandma sitting at a table in the kitchen speaking in common sense truths about orderliness and kindness basic instructions and so very much like my old aunt from Texas and easy to be with

7 thoughts on “Gary Snyder, writer, poet

  1. I think Jack Kerouac’s American ness is in the fact that he was a confused drunk who destroyed himself by middle age. America itself is now bleeding out

  2. Imagine, a Gary Snyder video has only 7500 views. What a shame this is…

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