"He stands... for the best of the Beat way." -- Ron Dart

Clearly a poetic descendant of Walt Whitman in terms of his relations with nature, American Beat poet and philosopher Gary Snyder was born in San Francisco on May 8, 1930 and has numerous associations with the Pacific Northwest. At age 15 he hiked up Mt. St. Helen's in August of 1945. Having worked as a logger and a forest ranger in the North Cascade mountains (on Sourdough Mountain, with Philip Whalen), he fashioned his earliest books of poetry from those experiences. Snyder met Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in 1955. Snyder's visit to Vancouver with Ginsberg, arranged by UBC professor Warren Tallman, was influential in the formation of the TISH school of writing, and he received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1975. Always concerned with mysticism, particulary from the perspective of Zen Buddhism, Snyder commenced an in-dept study of a legend called "He Who Hunted Birds In His Father's Village", from John Swanton's Haida Texts and Myths, for his undergraduate thesis at Reed College, Oregon in 1951. His rigorous analysis and appreciation of the story was published as He Who Hunted Birds in His Father's Village: The Dimensions of a Haida Myth (1979). Snyder remains on the faculty at the University of California at Davis. Among his poetry collections are Riprap (1959), Myths & Texts (1960), The Back Country (1967), Regarding Wave (1969), Turtle Island (1974) and Axe Handles (1983). Other notable works are Earth House Hold (1969), The Old Ways (1979) and The Real Work (1980). More than 800 people attended a reading by Gary Snyder in Bellingham in November in 2004, including many Canadians.


Snyder, Gary. He Who Hunted Birds in His Father's Village: The Dimensions of a Haida Myth (Bolinas: California: Grey Fox Press, 1979.)

[BCBW 2005] "First Nations" "Poetry"