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Gary Snyder Biography | Poet

Photo of Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder is a famous lecturer and environmentalist in addition to being one of the most famous poets of the very modern age. To some, he is known as the Poet Laureate of Deep Ecology. He was born on the 8th of May in 1930, and he is a healthy eighty-five-year-old today. Gary Snyder was born in San Francisco, California, and he was indeed part of the San Francisco Renaissance literary movement. He has been active professionally since around 1950. In 1975, he managed to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 1984, he won the American Book Award. Gary Synder has since won plenty of additional poetry prizes since then, but it is difficult to top such an impressive victory so early in one's career.

The Education of Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder was a scholarship student who attended Reed College. His parents had been in poverty throughout his early childhood, so he had already faced tremendous hardships growing up when he did. Gary Snyder became interested in the Native American way of life from an early age, and he actually did some research on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Oregon when he was attending Reed College. He learned about Buddhism during this stage of his life as well. While this experience caused him to establish his identity outside of academic circles, it also actually helped set the stage for the work that he would then accomplish as an academic.

The Life and Times of Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder was a Beat Generation Poet, as well as a member of the San Francisco Renaissance. He has traveled all over the world, including to countries where Buddhism is one of the dominant religions, which helped him further explore Buddhism and related philosophies. A lot of his writing reflects his travels. Gary Snyder was on the California Art Council for a while, and he served on the faculty of the University of California, Davis. Gary Snyder has lived the life of an academic, a poet, and a traveler.

The Professional Distinctions of Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder is a poet who is very much built in the modern conception of the poet as a distinguished academic, and a lot of his work reflects that. He is a celebrated poet who has won many coveted awards, and his output has been tremendous. It is difficult to top winning the Pulitzer Prize, which he did in 1975. However, he was not content to ride this accomplishment for the rest of his life, and he went on to win many more poetry awards.

He won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2008, the John Hay Award for Nature Writing in 1997, and the American Book Award in 1984. Mountains and Rivers Without End, which was published in 1996, is one of his more famous environmental works. Turtle Island, published in 1974, is one of the works that first put him on the map.

The Value of Gary Snyder's Work

Gary Snyder is known for his association with the Deep Ecology movement. The Deep Ecology movement centers its ideals on the notion that nature has some inherent worth outside of human needs, wants, and desires. Many people who support this movement tend to believe that humans have a duty to preserve nature. Gary Snyder has some strong beliefs in this direction, as well as a conviction that people should go back to the land. He held a number of then-radical beliefs throughout his career, even though his early support for gay rights is now a mainstream belief.

Gary Snyder definitely managed to inject his politics into his writing. The writing itself has a lovely, lyrical quality to it. He's a poet who really wants to be able to capture the loveliness of the natural world, rather than simply preach about it. His poetry tends to be without rhymes or meter. This was very common for many of the other Beat poets of his generation. They were interested in seeing what they could express without the restrictive forms of the olden days, which they associated with a lot of the traditional beliefs that they were trying to eliminate anyway. Gary Snyder's poetic style was influenced by many different cultures, which has contributed to its very unique quality. 

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