Gary Snyder

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Gary Snyder (born May 8, 1930) is an American poet (often associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance), as well as an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist (frequently described as the "poet laureate of Deep Ecology"[2]). Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His work, in his various roles, reflects an immersion in both Buddhist spirituality and nature. Snyder has also translated literature into English from ancient Chinese and modern Japanese. For many years, Snyder served as a faculty member at the University of California, Davis, and served for a time on the California Arts Council.

Contents

Early life

Gary Sherman Snyder was born in San Francisco, California to Harold and Lois Hennessy Snyder. Snyder is of German, Scots-Irish, and English ancestry. His family, impoverished by the Great Depression,[3] moved to King County, Washington[4], when he was two years old. There they tended dairy cows, kept laying hens, had a small orchard, and made cedar-wood shingles,[5][6] until moving to Portland, Oregon ten years later.[7]

At the age of seven, Snyder was laid up for four months by an accident. "So my folks brought me piles of books from the Seattle Public Library," he recalled in interview, "and it was then I really learned to read and from that time on was voracious — I figure that accident changed my life. At the end of four months, I had read more than most kids do by the time they're eighteen. And I didn't stop."[3]

Also during his ten childhood years in Washington, Snyder became aware of the presence of the Coast Salish people and developed an interest in the Native American peoples in general and their traditional relationship with nature.[3]

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