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Lions Roar : November 2015
HORTLY AFTER HIS EIGHTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY, Pulitzer Prize- winning poet, naturalist, and all-around Renaissance man Gary Snyder read from his latest (and possibly last) collection of poems, This Pres- ent Moment, as part of the City Arts and Lectures program at San Francisco’s Nourse Theater. He drew an interesting crowd of young techies and older hippies. Actor and activist Peter Coyote, who credits Snyder with introducing him to Zen, asked a question from the front row; Michael McClure, who had read along with Snyder and Allen Ginsberg at the legend- ary Gallery Six reading in SF in 1955 was there; and California Governor Jerry Brown, who appointed Snyder to the California Arts Council during a previous term, attended both the reading and a small after-party held in the poet’s honor. Shortly after that evening, I spoke to Gary Snyder. —SEAN ELDER When I was in high school, young people were still carrying copies of Jack Kerouac’s novel The Dharma Bums around in their backpacks. After its publication in 1958, you found yourself identified with Japhy Ryder, the fictional character Kerouac based on you. Did that annoy you? National Treasure Beat hero, steward of the earth, Zen Buddhist— at eighty-five, poet GARY SNYDER looks back on an honorable life at the leading edge. SEAN ELDER is a contributing editor at Newsweek and co-author, with Amos Kamil, of the forthcoming book Great Is the Truth: Secrecy, Scandal, and the Quest for Justice at the Horace Mann School (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux). PHOTOS BY CHRIS WELSCH ©2005STARTRIBUNE,MINNEAPOLIS,MN S SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2015 70