Gary Snyder Named 2011 Lenz Family Foundation Distinguished Lecturer
Gary Snyder is a renowned poet, scholar, cultural critic, and Professor Emeritus of the University of California at Davis. Born in San Francisco, Snyder grew up in the Pacific Northwest and worked on his family's farm. Upon graduating from Reed College in Portland, he began graduate study in Linguistics at Indiana University. He also studied East Asian Languages at UC Berkeley.
During his time in the Bay Area, Snyder associated with literary geniuses such as Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, Philip Whalen, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and others. In 1956, he moved to Kyoto, Japan, to study Zen and East Asian culture. Returning to the United States in 1969, Snyder has spent over forty years living in the northern Sierra Nevada. He divides his time between environmental and cultural issues (with a focus on the Sierra Nevada ecosystem) and teaching with a focus on creative writing, ethnopoetics, and bioregional praxis at the university. Gary Snyder has been a frequent guest faculty for Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.
Gary Snyder travels widely and maintains an ongoing engagement with innovative cultural movements in East Asia and Europe. He is a past Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work, Turtle Island, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1975 and Mountains and Rivers Without End won the Bollingen Prize for poetry in 1997. In 2004, he was awarded the "Masaoka Shiki International Haiku Grand Prize" in Japan, and in 2008, he received the Ruth Lilly Prize for achievement in poetry.
The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism promotes the benefits of Zen Buddhism, meditation, yoga, and related Buddhist practices in a manner complementary to modern American society. Past Lenz Foundation Distinguished Lecturers at Naropa University have included Dr. Joanna Macy, Dr. Paula Green, Dr. Jan Willis, Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, and Dr. José Cabezón. In addition to the lecture series, the foundation also provides support for the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation Residential Fellowship for Buddhist Studies and American Culture and Values, an opportunity for faculty and other professionals planning sabbaticals to spend a semester on the Naropa University campus in Boulder, Colorado, conducting a research, artistic, social action, or other project that relates Buddhist philosophy and practice to an aspect of American culture and values. The 2011-2012 Lenz Foundation Residential Fellows are Dr. David R. Loy and Dr. Arturo J. Bencosme.