Saturday, June 03, 2017

Exploring Gary Snyder's Connection To Seattle

Perhaps you’re familiar with Gary Snyder. Most famous for his affiliation with Beat poets like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, he work is really it’s own beast. One of my favorite writers, I read his work quite regularly. He’s quite influential on me.
I find the way he combines such things as zen, Chinese literature and nature poetry with geomorphology and geology simply fascinating. And his eye keeps looking at the west coast, with him spending a great deal of time in the Pacific Northwest.
His seminal work, Mountains and Rivers Without End covers a great deal of ground topic-wise. There are several poems with Pacific Northwest themes, but one strikes me most: “Night Highway 99“. (The link will take you to the Google Books edition of book.)
I remember when I first really read the title. “Really” meaning “attentive, aware, awake (in a zen-sort-of-way). The connection was instant. Growing up in Lynnwood just a few blocks from Highway 99, it’s very easy to envision the places he writes about. Also, with my journeys around the region, most of the towns he mentions I know. At least driving by, and many of them have memories of my footsteps upon the ground.
Definitely give Mr. Snyder a read. The rewards; magnificent!
Seattle's Aurora Bridge at night
Seattle’s Aurora Bridge at night

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