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Gary Snyder, counterculture, and national identity.

... as Paleolithic yogin, must try hunting again--eat venison and acorn bread in the Sierra.

--Gary Snyder, The Selected Letters Counterculture and the Outsider's Paradox

"Counterculture" is a widely-used word that covers many circumstances. Christopher Gair usefully opens his study, The American Counterculture, by insisting that we must distinguish between myths and histories of this movement, and "that there is a slippery and often uneasy relationship between ' mainstream' and 'marginal'" (2). Rather than draw the lines too firmly when relating the emergent to the mainstream, we should keep in mind that "it is not always possible or desirable to tell the two apart with absolute certainty" (2). And--one last caveat--it would also be a mistake to see the postwar counterculture as monolithic in its resistance to mainstream values. Gair quotes Alice Echols, who, contrary to the typical belief that counterculture went too far in its libertinism, argues that "the hippie subculture mirrored the values of the dominant culture, especially in regard to gays and women" (qtd. in Gair 9).

In addition to continuities and contradictions, there is the primary conundrum of countercultural expression: success is failure. Counterculture can refer to an alternative system of values that means to supplant values understood to be mainstream, but the dissenting voices that became nationally prominent were in danger of being seen as part of the culture industry. To engage too directly with what is mainstream, for example by publishing in highly prominent venues, is to bring into question the author's status as an "outsider." One way of resolving this problem would be to conceive of the countercultural stance as a mere rhetorical gesture, an exaggerated presentation of oneself as alien-to-a-system, when it may later come to seem that "alienation" and "rebellion" were in fact advantageous ways of spinning the fact that that artist has not yet earned as much professional stature (meaning esteem by serving as gatekeepers, being included in anthologies, receiving academic attention, and so forth) as more established writers. Looked at in this way, the countercultural stance can be reduced to nothing more than a self-serving pose, but that is not the purpose of the present enquiry. Rather, it is presumed that the artist wants to be artistically successful (and to be rewarded for their hard work in terms of commercial success) while at the same time developing as a countercultural activist within the domain of literary creation. To this end, it is useful to consider the different ways writers have constructed their opposition to what they, in their imaginative work and in non-fictional or propositional statements, construct as "mainstream." Gary Snyder's always-careful phrasing about national identity is instructive in this consideration, as he resists saying "America" in a habitual way that would tend to concretize the national borders and personal identifications that are reified--made to seem self-evident, normal, natural, and perhaps even ineluctable--by the educational practices and cultural institutions prominent within the United States.

Assuming an artist whose powers grow year by year and book by book, who attracts a following and who becomes a nationally recognized creative writer, we find that dilemmas invariably arise about the development of public image, including affiliations that may become apparent within the writing and through biographical acts, and in the writer's developing relationship to a growing audience. Commercial success, then, can be construed as a threat to authenticity, since dissident voices can be commodified and assimilated in various ways either at the level of composition or reception. Postwar American culture has been particularly resilient in the face of countercultural critique, co-opting acts of rebellion and revolutionary proclamations. An image, style, or theme that is associated with serious challenges to a social order can develop into differences of lifestyle and taste that are in reality not a challenge to a system of social organization. The image of Che Guevara can be used to sell shirts, and, as suggested, Romantic writer rebellion can be a strategy for becoming a "great American writer." Consider Alfred Kazin's thoughts about Norman Mailer in 1980, perhaps at the height of his reputation as a novelist, in Kazin's comments about The Executioner's Song. Kazin has grown weary of Mailer's celebration of the "psychic outlaw" notion that Mailer developed in his 1957 manifesto "The White Negro," and Kazin thinks Mailer's literature has become a self-serving pose: "Mailer thinks he's a great rebel. But I believe that if I reviewed the whole postwar history, I'd find that he's riding the waves exactly like a surfboard. It's fashion and show biz" (Manso 650). (1)

We construe from various reference points a countercultural identity, usually in relation to a "movement" of some sort, sometimes forgetting the variety of motivations contributing to the reified entity collected by a given name. Theodore Roszak reviews this problem carefully in The Making of a Counter Culture (1969), drawing our attention to the gaps between broad gestures and the implicit social consequences they would appear to contain:
   If Allen Ginsberg's Howl stands as a founding document of the
   counter culture, we must remember that the poet had to tell the
   world: "I have burned all my money in a waste-basket." Will it be a
   victory, then, or a defeat for the counter culture when the black
   man has at last fought his way clear of desperate expedients and
   wrings from the Great Society the white man's legal equivalent of
   looting: a steady job, a secure income, easy credit, free access to
   all the local emporiums, and his own home to pile the merchandise
   in? (67)

Come again? Let us assume that Roszak knows the difference between poetic flights of fancy and prosaic precision and that he chooses the image of the poet burning his money to question the relationship between poetic provocations, on the one hand, and the meaning of political opposition on the other. The question becomes, "Is the poet for reform or revolution?" Is the poetry of counterculture using poetic connotations and provocative incitements to move us toward the abolition of a corrupt way of life, or is all of the shouting a nudge in the direction of social amelioration? There is a contradiction of sorts between the angry rejection of a way of life within the angry verse and the wish--perhaps nourished by the poem, but perhaps not--that America is fixable. Johnson's Great Society was a plan for fixing America, and if one is for it, then one is "for" mainstream American society. One's credentials as a counterculturalist, then, can be endangered if the work is associated with direct social improvement. When revolutionary rhetoric garners authenticity by attacking the falsehood of mainstream society, it is haunted in this way by the specter of reform.

Roszak develops the point about counterculture in relation to racial injustice. It would not be a loss in terms of the claimed values of Beats, New Left activists, Hippies, and so forth for racism to decline and for equal opportunity to increase, but the symbolic action of countercultural activity, including the creation of poetry such as "Howl" and numerous other Beat manifestos, also involves the celebration of a space outside the mainstream. The imagined subject position both affirms its own right to exist just as it complains that its causal condition--some unfairness or injustice in "the system"--ought to be rectified. Roszak writes,
   What, after all, does social justice mean to the outcast and the
   dispossessed? Most obviously it means gain in admission to
   everything from which middleclass selfishness excludes them. But
   how does one achieve such admission without simultaneously becoming
   an integral and supportive element of the technocracy? (68)

A counterculture exists when a group forms around norms and values that are markedly at odds with those of the so-called mainstream, by which I mean the plurality of possible values and norms that differ from one another in various ways but which nonetheless appear within the system of a given identity rather than outside of it. My simple point is that Gary Snyder's always-careful iteration of "America" or "the United States" develops ways of thinking about contemporary American culture that can refer to it knowledgably while still retaining a space that is outside of it. The literary and social practices he has developed since appearing within the American public imagination in the mid-1950s are not merely different by degrees. Although Snyder frequently describes ways of inhabiting the world in a sustainable rather than exploitative way, he does not place all his hopes in the possibility that "America" will change course to become the kind of social order of which he could fully approve. Readers who identify with Snyder's social vision are encouraged by his vision of a post-American future--a return to Turtle Island.

Impermanence as Hope: Outlasting America

I wish to consider Snyder's countercultural thought in relation to the way he refers to "the United States of America"--or rather in relation to the way he avoids hailing into existence "Americans" as much as possible. In the early and middle parts of his career, it is as if America is the nation that shall not be named, and he displaces reference to it, for example by calling it "Turtle Island." (2) Or, he boycotts reference to national borders, preferring to enshrine in poems bioregional markers that, in his work, trump national identity. Occasionally he squares off against "America," which is usually a sign to designate the most concentrated assortment of symptoms of empire more broadly called "the West." The title of this essay might seem to suggest that all countercultural writers work from a similar standpoint, but Snyder stands apart. He has moments of affection for "America," particularly for a quality of open-heartedness that he is willing to associate with "America" rather than just California or a bioregional designation, but for the most part his value structure diminishes the significance of attempts to fix America or mourn its failings within the scope of a generation or a lifetime. Rather, Snyder means to wait out the nation-state, which means thinking in a more-than-my-lifetime way. Synthesizing elements drawn from Buddhism and archaic social systems, Snyder foresees a more sustainable "planetary culture," by which he means

the kind of society that would follow on a new understanding of that relatively recent institution, the National State, an understanding that might enable us to leave it behind. The State is greed made legal, with a monopoly

on violence; a natural society is familial and cautionary. A natural society is one that "Follows the Way," imperfectly but authentically. (3) (Reader 43)

Snyder throws down a gauntlet of sorts, calling out the urban/national ideologies that go largely unquestioned by the mainstream readerships and literary gatekeepers who have considerable power in shaping literary and artistic cultural trends. Yet his design is not to take arms against this sea of troubles but, rather, to survive it. Put another way, the Snyder of Earth House Hold imagines a future in which the fossil fuels run out, and a smaller population of humans will return--happily, in Snyder's prophetic imaginings--to a life that is tribal and bioregional. The case of Snyder throws what we nominalize as a monolithic counterculture into relief and allows us to see significant differences between leftist-progressive writers such as the Beats and their various literary cousins.

Michael McClure has paid homage to Kenneth Rexroth as the intellectual impresario who gathered countercultural impulses into a movement (42). Rexroth, however, in a 1970 essay that takes swipes at the "senile establishment" which was celebrating Paul Goodman as the resident renegade, singles out Snyder as the chief ideologue of the emerging counterculture. How odd to see the word "ideologist" used as a compliment here:

Gary Snyder is unquestionably the leading ideologist and critic of the counter-culture, but he is that, not discursively, but as a poet whose values are exposed in the factual experience of the poem with the presentational immediacy of concrete happenings. The ideology is the perspective. The criticism is in the arrangement. The dead culture is challenged not by rhetorical judgment but by assimilable occurrences. (Rexroth, n.pag.)

In his critical prose, Rexroth jumps from one brilliant apercu to the next, and it is worthwhile to unpack his discourse. "Assimilation" can be either a very good thing or a sign that oppositional approaches to mainstream, hegemonic lifeways will not succeed. In the sentence just quoted, Snyder is not an ideologist in the sense that he abstracts himself from the social process and writes highly intellectual essays that make evident his elevation above the hoi polloi. Rexroth praises the poetry that leads and teaches not by appointing itself an intellectual dictatorship of the proletarian sub-poets. Rather, Snyder's work succeeds best when it directly and with apparent simplicity apprehends an experience in a manner that invites similar apprehension from a reader, perhaps creating an aesthetic effect that momentarily elides the subject/object divisions between self and subject matter, or between reader and audience. Snyder, as we have seen, draws on both Buddhadharma and celebratory notions of the primitive as guiding values for a society that "follows the way" (Reader 43), and in line with these stated ideals he has developed a poetics and a poetic praxis that very much encourage an understanding of the supposed other as a continuation or reflection of some aspect of the self. It is a democratic breakthrough in which the heightened perception of the poet is shared as widely as possible.

Rexroth worries that the revolutionary ambitions of a poetry and broader cultural movement intent on promoting a genuinely alternative way of life is endangered by the power of contemporary American life to co-opt apparent threats. Bad assimilation occurs for Rexroth when a supposedly countercultural writer makes the mainstream audience "uncomfortable" in a way that is actually flattering--the reader who is chided by a slightly more radical writer is also given attention, and this is flattering. Honestly, we like it when the poet attacks our society (though we may fantasize ourselves as the exception to the jeremiad), as such critiques undoubtedly unify a "we" and give that selfhood a spotlight in which to shine. With these worries in mind, mama-bear Rexroth gives Ginsberg a pedagogical paw-slap:
   Allen Ginsberg is assimilable. We can always make room in the canon
   for Hosea. The prophet, the nabi, is a standard appurtenance of the
   Solomonic court. Ginsberg must struggle continuously to keep from
   being digested. Even so he is one of America's Hundred Best
   Celebrities. (n.pag.)

I think this statement was a compliment, but it is certainly a back-handed one. Ginsberg, in Rexroth's figuration, is in between fates. It is possible that he will not demand a radical change in the social order, since he would not be thusly embraced if he were. Or, he may "struggle continuously to keep from being digested." Therein lies the inherent drama of countercultural resistance, which makes it distinct from revolutionary resistance on the one hand and liberal reform on the other. Of course, one can be in favor of liberal reform in the short run while planning a wholly different way of life in the long run (or at least we used to think so before the term "Anthropocene" became normal). While allowing for the possibility that Ginsberg would continue to resist co-optation, Rexroth notes a possible weakness in Ginsberg's way of relating to American society, namely that the gadfly who is apparently against the social structure is easily accommodated by that structure. Calling Ginsberg "one of America's Hundred Best Celebrities" is to a lesser degree a nod to the younger poet's relative value in popularizing countercultural sentiments, but a word like "Celebrities" suggests inconsequential glamor more than anything else. The capital letters imitate and mock the puffedup world in which prominence exists without the sort of achievements Rexroth would rather recognize.

Snyder has written a series of essays and longer prose statements calling for specific changes in attitude and behavior (e.g., "Four Changes," Reader 245-53). The Rexroth assertion that this writer known primarily for his poetry is nonetheless an important "ideologist" of the counterculture is a direction to his readers as to where safe counsel about how to avoid co-optation can be found. One thing that makes Snyder different from postwar prophetic critics such as Mailer and Ginsberg is that Snyder rarely performs the "love/hate relationship" with America, in which the national identity would be just fine if American institutions and other social forces and groups would live up to the values stated in the Declaration of Independence, and so forth. For Snyder, national identity is a bad habit we will be stuck with until enough people experience a philosophical shift toward anarchistic self-organization, a shift that entails a bioregional understanding of the landscape. Snyder often reminds readers that the right angles and parallel lines on American maps--think of Four Corners, the spot on the map where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada meet--measure the colonial domination of "Turtle Island," the name for North America that originates in First Nation mythic origin stories in which the world rests on a turtle's back.This usage does not therefore repress indigenous ways of conceiving of North American place and space, although Snyder does occasionally refer to America and, of course, he addresses American readers.

There is a certain intimacy when Ginsberg says, "Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb." It is the direct harshness that is possible in a family fight. Snyder too exhibits something of a love/hate relationship with America in his work of the sixties and seventies, but it is never quite like Ginsberg's prophetic call to account. He is briefly tempted to love America but gives the personified self the cold shoulder in poems such as "I Went into a Maverick Bar," announcing that he can almost love America at its most blue-collar, but not quite. In poem after poem, America is the negative backdrop, the foil, to a discussion of a virtuous East Asian or pre-industrial-revolution community. In various satires and diatribes, the word America is more or less spat out or is voiced in a thoroughly condescending way, such as in these lines from "Maverick Bar":
   They held each other like in High School dances
      in the fifties;
   I recalled when I worked in the woods
      and the bars of Madras, Oregon.
   That short-haired joy and roughness--
      America--your stupidity.
   I could almost love you again. (Turtle Island 9)

Contrast this with Ginsberg's full-throated family-fight with America (entitled "America"), a rant that very much wants to redeem an America that fails to live up to its own potential:
   America I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
   America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
   I can't stand my own mind.
   America when will we end the human war?
   Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
   I don't feel good don't bother me.
   I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind.
   America when will you be angelic? (62)

The flaws of the self often mirror the failings of the nation, and so, in Whitmanian manner, the poet often marries himself to the nation for better or for worse. Ginsberg, like Rexroth, is angry with America, but he holds out the possibility that American will be "angelic" in a way we would not expect from Rexroth. Snyder consistently avoids an America-centric world-view, just as he created his own 40,000-year dating system to avoid using the Common Era (CE) system based on the life of Christ. He addresses the reality of the nation state, but this is often a necessary compromise in an attempt to induce a shift in standpoint and in identification among his readers. Reform would be welcome but unlikely; those who see the light will instead prepare the way for the bioregional, sustainable communities of the post-petroleum future.

Snyder came to his wilderness-oriented system of values early, and it remains in late works such as Mountains and Rivers Without End, Danger on Peaks, and the essay collection Back on Fire. His primary orientation has not changed: rather than be "assimilated" by America, he holds his ground and waits for America, or whatever it will call itself, to come around. As he had presented his view in his 1960s writings, his position is carved in stone--paleolithic stone:

As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the upper Paleolithic: the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the powervision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. (Myths and Texts viii)

His army does not directly engage with such enemies as the neo-liberal state in a take-arms-against-a-sea-of-troubles way, though he does speak truth back to the power of urban ideology, a hegemonic discourse that has defined and reified a sense of "wilderness" and "nature" in ways that powerfully condition thinking.

As an ideologist, Snyder directly challenges the legitimacy of habitual language, drawing out the histories and etymologies of key words that subtly and mostly unconsciously shape the pathways of thought. In line with his general critique of anthropomorphic imagination and the way in which people measure life according to what they imagine their own lifespan will be, he would rather think in terms of centuries or chunks of time on the order of 50,000 years, an idea he works out in his essay "Entering the Fiftieth Millennium" (Back on Fire 7379). In a manner that harkens back to Robinson Jeffers's "inhumanism," Snyder nudges readers beyond the humanist scale of time that focuses on the next twenty or fifty years--a period that will directly affect us and our children. Sometimes, when absolutely necessary, Snyder will engage in what might be construed as an imaginary conversation with the nation state, but when he does, it is to attempt to bring the nation state around to his way of thinking. For example, in his essay "Thinking Toward the Thousand-Year Forest Plan," he acknowledges that many people in America will not typically imagine their responsibilities toward the future in thousand-year terms, but he counters that the American government does precisely this when forced to by circumstances:

Someday there will be a Thousand-year Forest Plan. If talking about "one thousand years" seems unimaginably long, we should remember that the Department of Energy and the whole nuclear establishment are planning for a repository of spent but thoroughly dangerous radioactive material to be placed underground at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, and it will need to be overseen and guarded for at least ten thousand years. They have assured us that they will look after it for all that time. (Back on Fire 40)

Snyder does not have complete confidence, to say the least, that nation states will last the ten thousand years necessary to fulfill such a promise. In Mountains and Rivers Without End and Danger on Peaks, his major poetry collections from 1996 and 2004, respectively, he is increasingly concerned with transience, mortality, and the need to recognize the temporal rhythms of existence. A breath is just a breath, and a national language might have a 500-year life span. But attending to the rhythms of mortality also allows for patterns of renewal. In "Covers the Ground" from Mountains and Rivers Without End, he sings of the California that existed maybe 400 years ago:
   "The Great Central Plain of California
   was one smooth bed of honey-bloom
   400 miles, your foot would press
   a hundred flowers at every step
   it seemed one sheet of plant gold;

   all the ground was covered
   with radiant corollas ankle-deep...." (68, Snyder's italics)

This passage, carved from John Muir's writing about the Sierras, is not only about what once was; in Snyder's vision, it can be again. (4)

In the meantime, the current world of America is characterized by severe addiction: "Once a bear gets hooked on garbage there's no cure" (The Back Country 76), and it is hard to overcome the lazy thrill of cheap energy-addiction for man and bear alike. That said, Snyder hopes the junk will run out, the damage to the ecosystem done during the "homocene" will be as little as possible, and then life without monoculture will continue and thrive. Unlike other countercultural visionaries, Snyder is not a "humanist," if that word means that one measures the value of all things in terms of a human life, unconsciously assuming an urban, intellectual, semi-elite life, at that. In Robinson Jeffers's sense of the term, he is an "inhumanist," although he attempts to shake off the Schopenhauerian superior glare of Jeffers. Snyder's imagination of our possible wide-scale return to reinhabitory relations with the ground beneath us and life forms around us is as open-hearted and light-spirited as he can make it, given the merciless encroachment of industrial life and urban ideology on all other lifeways.

The final poem of Mountains and Rivers is entitled "Finding a Space in the Heart," and it has a prophetic dimension (in Cornel West's sense of the term), which involves being a moral witness and aligning with a right way of living. The poem recounts several moments when Snyder saw "it," which I take to mean a vision of the world and self as non-separate. The poem begins,
   I first saw it in the sixties,
   driving, a Volkswagon camper
   with a fierce gay poet and a
   lovely but dangerous girl with a husky voice.... (Mountains 149)

What did he see? "Mountains, lava flow caves, / the Alvord desert--pronghorn ranges--/ and the glittering obsidian-paved / dirt track toward Vya" (149). What we see so far are signifiers connected to a particular progressive-liberal way of life, vast spaces defined by animals of various sorts and not just humans, and a landscape that opens up into the open-endedness that is referred to in Buddhist religious and philosophical texts as emptiness. In a moment of ecstasy, the poet describes the part that cannot completely be fenced in by words: "O, ah! The / awareness of emptiness / brings forth a heart of compassion!" (149). Emptiness is intrinsically related to impermanence but contains the nuances of freedom from deterministic shackles--empty of constraint, we might say--as well as the emptiness of permanent selfhood.

Our bodies certainly lack permanent, stable selfhood: they all fall apart as the decades accumulate. We hear a note or so of this sense of loss a few lines later, when the poet writes about the continuation of the Volkswagon journey: "The next day we reached San Francisco / in a time when it seemed / the world might head a new way" (149). Snyder participated in Be-Ins and wrote with great hope, but the hope that the counterculture would change America did not pan out: "it seemed / the world might head a new way." Prospects arise, fall, and give way to retrospective considerations that, in turn, reincarnate in surprising ways: "Fifteen years passed. In the eighties / With my lover I went where the roads end ... / discovered a path / of carved stone inscriptions tucked into the sagebrush / "Stomp out greed" / "The best things in life are not things." Snyder caps these carved English-language mantras by saying, "words placed by an old desert sage" (150). These messages, carved in rocks, are meant for the future. They are hidden treasures for a future that will resemble the Paleolithic past. The poet then sings of the great inland lakes that have dried up: "cutthroat trout spirit in silt" that will return. After a section that strongly echoes the via negativa of the Prajna Paramita Sutra--e.g., no nose, no eye--Snyder closes with a picnic in which one item on the menu is grasshoppers, and the poet looks forward, through the present event in the 1990s, to the possible future when "Americans" go away and the people that remain become neo-native Americans, or something like that.

In The Practice of the Wild, Snyder reports that he heard a Crow elder say,
   You know, I think if people stay somewhere long enough--even white
   people--the spirits will begin to speak to them. It's the power of
   the spirits coming up from the land. The spirits and the old powers
   aren't lost, they just need people to be around long enough and the
   spirits will begin to influence them. (42)

The current moment at the end of Mountains and Rivers that anticipates this possible future is not Jeffers-dour but rather Snyder-humorous, when people eat the grasshoppers but not without some resistance:
   and tasting grasshoppers roasted in a pan

   They all somehow swarm down here-sons
   and daughters in a circle
   eating grasshoppers grimacing,
   singing sutras for the insects in the wilderness,

   --the wideness, the
   Foolish loving spaces

   full of heart. (152)

It is important to note that Snyder praises and appreciates actual experiences. The fantasy of a Turtle Island made up of people who co-exist respectfully with the environment is not merely a fantasy. By anchoring his vision of community in memories of what has actually occurred--both in the playful experiment with insect-eating, and in the opening poem that shows us the mountains and rivers of T'ang-era China--Snyder proleptically answers the criticism that his vision is utopian. It can happen because it has happened and it does happen.

All identities are provisional and temporary, and the acceptance of impermanence conditions the countercultural affiliations that run through Snyder's work. To identify oneself primarily in countercultural terms is to define oneself forever in opposition, a mistake Snyder certainly avoids in his conclusion to Mountains and Rivers Without End. The eaters of grasshoppers grimace, the sutras are sung, and the poet plays with alliteration: it is play that is stressed, not opposition or any kind of agonistic self-fashioning. The readers in early-twenty-first-century America may also grimace about the grasshoppers--we are compelled to identify with a future we cannot fully understand. The community within the poem and the poem's readers are certain, however, to share one quality, and that is the playful (rather than fraught) encounter of impermanence and blissful presence. The sixties came and went, and the children will come and go. In between, there are roasted grasshoppers and the possibility of appreciating "insects in the wilderness."


I would especially like to thank Ronna Johnson and Nancy Grace for their encouragement and sharp editorial eyes.

(1) Kazin, in his comments to interviewer Peter Manso, was expressing anger at Mailer for romanticizing murderers such as Jack Henry Abbott and Gary Gilmore, the central figure of The Executioner's Song. In 1968, Mailer wrote an especially celebratory review of Mailer's Armies ofthe Night, a "nonfiction novel" that narrates a symbolic and modestly physical struggle between countercultural forces (e.g., groups organized by yippie figures such as Abbie Hoffman) and National Guard troops and, symbolically, the Pentagon itself. (1-2, 26).

(2) In addition to Snyder's 1974 book, Turtle Island, which won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, see especially the essay "Rediscovering Turtle Island" in A Place in Space, 236-51.

(3) "Buddhism and the Coming Revolution" was originally published in Earth House Hold in 1969, and sections of it are included in The Gary Snyder Reader.

(4) Snyder has whittled down three passages by John Muir's "Bee Pastures" chapter from My First Summer in the Sierras to form these verses. The Muir passages are as follow, with the words Snyder has "sampled" in italics:
   The Great Central Plain of California, during the months of March,
   April, and May, was one smooth, continuous bed of honey-bloom, so
   marvelously rich that, in walking from one end of it to the other,
   a distance of more than 400 miles, your foot would press about a
   hundred flowers at every step. (523)

   When I first saw this central garden, the most extensive and
   regular of all the bee-pastures of the State, it seemed all one
   sheet of plant gold, hazy and vanishing in the distance, distinct
   as a new map along the foot-hills at my feet. (524)

   Descending the eastern slopes of the Coast Range through beds of
   gilias and lupines, and around many a breezy hillock and
   bush-crowned headland, I at length waded out into the midst of it.
   All the ground was covered, not with grass and green leaves, but
   with radiant corollas, about ankle-deep next the foot-hills ...

See John Muir: Nature Writings.

Works Cited

Gair, Christopher. The American Counterculture. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2007. Print.

Ginsberg Allen and Gary Snyder. The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder. Edited by Bill Morgan. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2009. Print.

Kazin, Alfred. "The Trouble He's Seen" in The New York Times (May 5, 1968: 1-2, 26). Web. 5 Feb. 2016.

Manso, Peter. Mailer: His Life and Times. New York: Washington Square, 2008. Print.

McClure, Michael. "Ninety-one Things about Richard Brautigan." Lighting the Corners: On Art, Nature, and the Visionary. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1993. 36-68. Print.

Muir, John. John Muir: Nature Writings. Edited by William Cronon. New York: Library of America, 1997. Print.

Rexroth, Kenneth. "Gary Snyder: Smokey the Bear Bodhisattva." Web. n.p., 21 May 2014.

Roszak, Theodore. The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition. Berkeley, CA: U of California P, 1968, revised edition 1995. Print.

Snyder, Gary. A Place in Space: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Watersheds. Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1995. Print.

--. The Back Country. Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1968. Print.

--. Back on Fire: Essays. Washington, DC: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2007. Print.

--. Danger on Peaks. Washington, DC: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2004. Print.

--.The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry, and Translations, 1952-1998. Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 1999. Print.

--. "I Went Into a Maverick Bar." Poetry Foundation. Web. 5 March, 2016.

--. Mountains and Rivers Without End. Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 1996. Print.

--. Myths and Texts. New York: New Directions, [1960] 1978. Print.

--. Practice of the Wild. New York, NY: North Point P, 1990. Print.

--. Turtle Island. NY: New Directions. [1969] 1974. Print.
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Author:Whalen-Bridge, John
Publication:Journal of Beat Studies
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2016
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