Gary Snyder (born May 8, 1930) is an American poet (originally, often associated with the Beat Generation), essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist. Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
- 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 power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.
- "Statement for the Paterson Society" (1961), as quoted in David Kherdian, Six Poets of the San Francisco Renaissance: Portraits and Checklists (1967), p. 52. Snyder repeated the first part of this quote (up to "… common work of the tribe.") in the introduction to the revised edition of Gary Snyder, Myths & Texts (1978), p. viii.
- I never did know exactly what was meant by the term "The Beats," but let's say that the original meeting, association, comradeship of Allen Ginsberg, myself, Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Philip Whalen, who's not here, Lew Welch, who's dead, Gregory Corso, for me, to a somewhat lesser extent (I never knew Gregory as well as the others) did embody a criticism and a vision which we shared in various ways, and then went our own ways for many years.
- The Beat Vision (1974)
- Better, the perfect, easy discipline of the swallows dip and swoop, without east or west.
- On open form poetry in "Some Yips & Barks in the Dark" in Naked Poetry : Recent American Poetry in Open Forms (1976) edited by Stephen Berg
- How could we be were it not for this planet that provided our very shape? Two conditions—gravity and livable temperature range between freezing and boiling—have given us fluids and flesh. The trees we climb and the ground we walk on have given us five fingers and toes. The "place"... gave us far-seeing eyes, the streams and breezes gave us versatile tongues and whorly ears. The land gave us a stride, and the lake a dive. The amazement gave us our kind of mind.
- The Practice of the Wild (1990)
- If, after obtaining Buddhahood, anyone in my land
gets tossed in jail on a vagrancy rap, may I
not attain highest perfect enlightenment.
- Burning, from No Nature; New and Selected Poems (1992)
- I recalled when I worked in the woods
and the bars of Madras, Oregon.
That short-haired joy and roughness—
I could almost love you again.
- I Went into the Maverick Bar, from No Nature; New and Selected Poems (1992)
"Buddhism and the Coming Revolution" (1961, 1969)
- Institutional Buddhism has been conspicuously ready to accept or ignore the inequalities and tyrannies of whatever political system it found itself under. This can be death to Buddhism, because it is death to any meaningful function of compassion.
- The national polities of the modern world maintain their existence by deliberately fostered craving and fear. ... The “free world” has become economically dependent on a fantastic system of stimulation of greed which cannot be fulfilled, sexual desire which cannot be satiated and hatred which has no outlet. ... They create populations of “preta” — hungry ghosts, with giant appetites and throats no bigger than needles. The soil, the forests and all animal life are being consumed by these cancerous collectivities; the air and water of the planet is being fouled by them.
- The Bodhisattva lives by the sufferer’s standard, and he must be effective in aiding those who suffer.
- The mercy of the West has been social revolution; the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void. We need both.
- 1991 audio interview with Gary Snyder by Don Swaim of CBS Radio - RealAudio
- Gary Snyder - Books, Selected Poems, Prose and Biography - in Russian
- Shambala Sun article "The Wild Mind Of Gary Snyder" by Trevor Carolan
- Modern American Poetry Collection - Ball State University Archives and Special Collections Research Center