Gary Snyder

Today, May 8 is the birthday of poet, Gary Snyder who was born in San Francisco in 1930. When he was a student, he worked as a logger, a forest ranger and a seaman. All of these experiences informed his life as a poet, drawing on his closeness to nature, concern for the environment and a respect for the primal forces that affect humanity. He first started writing while working on a trail crew in Yosemite National Park. Snyder also spent eight years in a Zen Buddhist monastery in Japan where he developed his love for solitude and all it could teach him. His poetry is characterized by its spareness and contemplative quality and use of work, family and nature as metaphors for more universal themes. Here is one that examines the origins of poetry:

How Poetry Comes to Me

It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light