"As a poet, I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the late Paleolithic; the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth; the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe." —Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder was an influential figure in the Beat Generation and subsequent counter-culture movements. He is first, foremost, and always a POET. His poetry often covers ecological, Native American, and Zen Buddhist themes. He is a propenent of bioregionalism, an ideology of "reinhabitation" and cooperation with nature.

Gary Snyder was born May 8, 1930, in San Francisco but was raised in Oregon. He studied literature and anthropology at Reed College in Portland from 1946 to 1950, living with Lew Welch and Philip Whalen (Jack Kerouac's Ben Fagan and Warren Coughlin), Don Berry, and William Dickey. This group played a major role in the formation of the Beat Generation, and especially in its spiritual dimension: it was Snyder and Whalen (who eventually became a Zen abbot) who helped to introduce Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac to Buddhism and Zen.

Snyder returned to San Francisco in the 50's and joined the Poetry Renaissance of the Beat Generation, participating in the epochal Six Gallery reading in San Francisco in October, 1955. He was a primary character in Kerouac's novel The Dharma Bums, under the Kerouacian pseudonym of Japhy Ryder. Snyder, who worked in the Forest Service for many years, encouraged Kerouac to take a job as a fire lookout. Kerouac's experience is recorded in The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels, and Snyder's many stints as lookout and Forest Service worker color all of his work.

During the 60's he lived in Japan, studying in a Zen monastery and travelling to India with Ginsberg. He returned to the United States in the 70's and became even more active in ecological activism and thinking. Snyder has taught at the University of California, Davis since 1985.

Gary Snyder on e2 (At one time there were several more, but due to copyright policy changes, they were removed.)
Publications (list stolen from the University of California, Davis)
Awards (list stolen from the University of California, Davis)
  • The John Hay Award for Nature Writing, 1997
  • The Bollingen Prize for Poetry, 1997
  • Featured Poet in Bill Moyers' "The Language of Life" PBS video special series, 1995
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1993
  • American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1987
  • The Best American Poetry 1988 and 1989
  • Fred S. Cody Memorial Award, 1989
  • American Poetry Society Shelley Memorial Award, 1986
  • Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1975
  • Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 1969-70
  • Bollingen Foundation Fellow, 1966-69

Reed College Student Information booklet
Earth House Hold, by Gary Snyder