Posts Tagged ‘Sean Elder’

Nuuswekker. Gary Snyder word vereer

Monday, January 30th, 2017
Gary Snyder. Foto deur: Festival of Faiths.

Gary Snyder. (Foto deur: Festival of Faiths.)

Gary Snyder is uiteraard bekend as een van die vernaamste Beat-digters en as sulks het die stad San Francisco onlangs die 85-jarige digter en voormalige Pulitzer-pryswenner vereer met ‘n spesiale program wat deel uitgemaak het van die City Arts and Lectures in San Francisco se Nourse Teater. Met dié geleentheid is Snyder se nuutste, en waarskynlik laaste, digbundel, This Present Moment,  bekend gestel.

Na afloop van die verrigtinge het Sean Elder, van Lion’s Roar (“Buddhist Wisdom for Our Time”) met die befaamde digter gesels. Die volledige onderhoud kan hier op hul webtuiste gelees word.

Enkele uittreksels is die volgende:

Can you talk about your relationship to the Beats? Was there any sense at the famous Six Gallery reading in 1955—where Allen Ginsberg first read “Howl” and you read “A Berry Feast”—that this was the beginning of a movement?

There was already a movement. I was very much a student of the poet and essayist Kenneth Rexroth. He had an open seminar twice a month in his apartment out in the Avenues district of San Francisco. I got over there and listened to what Kenneth had to say. It was from Kenneth that I first heard discussion of labor unions, the anarchist movement, the history of West Coast Communism. The circle of people around Kenneth were part of my continuous education in the history of the West Coast left. Kenneth in his earlier days had gone to all the early meetings of the Italian Working Men’s Circle on Potrero Hill. He had a lot of crazy opinions but also had very good insights.

The first time I met Allen Ginsberg was at Rexroth’s house—Allen had just come up from Mexico. The first time I saw Kerouac was when Allen brought him to Rexroth’s place. Because Allen was living in Berkeley, I saw more and more of him. Kenneth thought of both Jack and Allen as “talented jerks.”

Verderaan vertel Snyder van sy eerste kennismakings met Boeddhisme:

I had a definite argument about the ethics of Christianity—or the absence of what I thought was ethics—in their inability to extend concern to non-human beings. That’s when I quit going to Sunday school—when I found out that our heifers that died couldn’t go to heaven. Then I learned somewhere that Buddhists and Hindus included all the different creatures in their moral concern, and I said, “Well, that’s for me!”

The first big hit of East Asia that came to me was at the Seattle Art Museum, which had a wonderful collection of East Asian, Chinese, and Japanese landscape paintings. Looking at the Chinese and Japanese mountain landscapes, my thought was that they sure looked a lot like the Cascades in Washington. I also thought, “Gee, these guys really knew how to paint!”

When you look at a European landscape, it might seem familiar if you live on the East Coast, but it was a very unfamiliar landscape to me. East Asian painting covers a mountain landscape with ice and rocks and clouds that looks very much like the landscape of interior Washington.

I ran into Buddhism again in college, partly through anthropology and world humanities courses, and partly through the presence of one Chinese gentleman who had been in the American army in World War II and was going to Reed College on the GI Bill. He was an expert calligrapher in both Chinese and the Roman alphabet.


By wyse van groet, plaas ek ‘n gedig van Gary Snyder onderaan.

Geniet die week wat op hande is.

Mooi bly.



Above Pate Valley


We finished clearing the last

Section of trail by noon,

High on the ridge-side

Two thousand feet above the creek

Reached the pass, went on

Beyond the white pine groves,

Granite shoulders, to a small

Green meadow watered by the snow,

Edged with Aspen—sun

Straight high and blazing

But the air was cool.

Ate a cold fried trout in the

Trembling shadows. I spied

A glitter, and found a flake

Black volcanic glass—obsidian—

By a flower. Hands and knees

Pushing the Bear grass, thousands

Of arrowhead leavings over a

Hundred yards. Not one good

Head, just razor flakes

On a hill snowed all but summer,

A land of fat summer deer,

They came to camp. On their

Own trails. I followed my own

Trail here. Picked up the cold-drill,

Pick, singlejack, and sack

Of dynamite.

Ten thousand years.


(c) Gary Snyder, (Uit: Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems. 2003: Shoemaker & Hoard Publishers. )