Thursday, December 1, 2016

He’s really the wildest craziest sharpest cat we’ve ever met. And what I love about him is he’s the big hero of the West Coast. . . . Besides all the background he has, in Oriental scholarship, Pound, taking peyote and seeing visions, his mountainclimbing and bhikkuing, wow, Japhy Ryder is a great new hero of American culture

A nice article in the New Yorker about my favorite local poet, Gary Snyder.

Cool personal anecdote: the boy had a job at a local used book store.  One of his jobs was to take in donated used books.  One night when I picked him up after work, he showed me a book he bought that had just come in, and inside were a couple of letters the previous owner had folded and put there from Snyder himself, discussing various upcoming projects.


He, not being real familiar with Snyder, told me he had almost thrown them out (apparently lots of junk comes in with used books like this), but recognizing the name from some stray comment I had made, decided, with hand hovering over the trash can, to show them to me at the last possible minute.  Whew, close call there.  I still have them with the book.

Anyway, a good article, and good poetry.

Hay for the Horses

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
            behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
            sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
---The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds---
"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."


  1. He was at end of Oct. Interesting fellow.

    1. One of these days I need to catch one of his events. He isn't going to be around forever.