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March 8, 2006

Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic Gary Snyder to Speak at Smith

Editor’s note: For a photo of Gary Snyder, contact Marti Hobbes at

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Poet, critic and essayist Gary Snyder, whose work is informed by his studies in Zen Buddhism and Asian languages, will speak at Smith in early April.

On Monday, April 3, at 4:30 p.m. in Weinstein Auditorium in Wright Hall as part of the “Zen in America” Lecture series, Snyder will give a talk, “Reflections on the Zen Way,” sponsored by American Studies, the Religion Department and the Ada Howe Kent Fund. The following evening, Tuesday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m., in John M. Greene Hall, the Poetry Center will present Snyder reading his poems. Both events are free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.

While working in Japan as a translator of Zen texts for 12 years, Snyder traveled and wrote prolifically. In his first volume, “Riprap,” published in 1959, Snyder describes poetry as a verbal rock path by which the reader may cross with him the infinite terrains of ecology and human experience. Snyder, who has been likened by some to a modern-day Henry David Thoreau, was called by poet Edward Hirsch “the most intimate and mindful of poets.”

Snyder received the Bollingen Poetry Prize, the Orion Society’s John Hay Award for Nature Writing and a Pulitzer Prize for “Turtle Island” in 1975. He was also the first American literary figure to receive the Buddhist Transmission Award for distinctive contributions in linking Zen thought and respect for the natural world across a lifelong body of poetry and prose. Snyder currently teaches at the University of California at Davis, where he lectures on literature and ecology.

Snyder’s reading will be followed by a book sale and signing. For further information, contact Cindy Furtek in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson, director, at (413) 585-3368.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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