Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Snyder at 78

I just came across this piece in The Guardian, about the beat poet Gary Snyder, who has just won this year's Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

I only really came across his work four years ago, when I went across to California to a friend's wedding. The town near which it took place, Davis, has a campus of the University of California, and the branch of Borders there was full of Snyder's books, I think because he had been (perhaps still is?) a lecturer there. Anyway, I liked them, and bought a couple. The new and selected, No Nature, is a pretty good introduction to his work, and although I'd probably agree with some of the comments on the article, that his earlier work is more rewarding than a lot of the later stuff, there are gems from all periods to pick out. It's quite unlike the work of the other beats, being heavily indebted to Far Eastern poetry, mythology and religion, but I think I like it more than any of them, except perhaps Gregory Corso.

Anyway, good piece - I'm going to dig out some Snyder books when I get home tonight.

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