SEARCH UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
Prepared by Alex Gildzen
Revised by Athena Salaba, January 30, 1995; Last updated January 2008
1 document case, .33 cubic foot, 11th floor
Gary Snyder was born on May 8, 1930 in San Francisco, California, to Harold Alton and Lois (Willkie). He was raised in Washington and Oregon on small farms. Snyder held jobs as logger, seaman, fire-look-out and trail crew worker for the U.S. Forest Service. He received his degree in literature and anthropology from Reed College and did some graduate work in linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he pursued his interests in Asian thought. He served as a member of the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley, for one year (1964). During the 1950's he became involved with the San Francisco Beat movement and later when he moved to Japan he bacame involved in Zen Buddhism. Both of these involvements have a characteristic influence on his poetry. In his writing we see an appreciation for the hard rural work, an influence of Eastern literature and philosophy, and an interest and commitment to poetry, society, and the natural world. Snyder
received a number of honors and awards, among them a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection Turtle Island (1974). Among his poetry collections are Riprap (1959), Myths & Texts (1960), The Back Country (1967), Regarding Wave (1969), Turtle Island and Axe Handles (1983). Other notable works are Earth House Hold (1969), The Old Ways (1979) and The Real Work (1980).
The Department began purchasing Gary Snyder's manuscript material in the early 1970s and has made it a collecting priority since that time. One of the focus areas for collection development within Special Collections is contemporary poetry. An effort is made to collect Gary Snyder's printed works comprehensively, while enhancing the printed material with manuscripts and letters as they are available in the market. Provenance varies but most of the material was purchased from Jim Lowell's Asphodel Bookshop.
The collection includes manuscripts of individual poems, his poetry collection Myths & Texts and Peter Easy's work about Snyder's poetry. Mainly, it consists of Snyder's correspondence with Will Petersen and with Arthur & Kit Knight. In his letters to Petersen he discusses general matters, life in Japan, writing and publishing plans, reading tours, etc. His letters to Arthur & Kit Knight discuss Snyder's contributions to several publications and permissions to include his works in forthcoming publications.
Folder -- Contents