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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

15. Poetry of Liberation

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Activities: Author Activities

Gary Snyder - Selected Archive Items

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[4999] Anonymous, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, and Ralph Metzer (Left to Right) Standing in Front of a Ten Foot Plaster Buddha (1965),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-119239].
Beats preparing for a "psychedelic celebration" at the Village Theater in New York City. Beat writers looked to Eastern religions and traditions, finding European-American culture and religions empty of meaning. See Ginsberg's poem "Sunflower Sutra" ("sutra" is Sanskrit for "thread" and refers to Buddhist religious texts).

[7126] Eisen, Asakusa Temple in Winter (c. 1810),
courtesy of the print collection of Connecticut College.
"One must have a mind of winter / To regard the frost and the boughs / Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;"--Wallace Stevens, "The Snow Man" (1931). Japanese woodcut of temple in wooded winter scene. Modernist poets were drawn to Asian religious and artistic themes, particularly emphasizing simplicity and nature.

[7377] Lee Russell, Grant County, Oregon. Malheur National Forest. Lumberjack Hitching Cable on Log which Will Be Loaded onto Trucks (1942),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USF34-073482-D DLC].
Picture of a Pacific Northwest lumberjack. Beat poet Gary Snyder went to Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and worked as a logger in between his undergraduate and graduate studies in anthropology.

[8110] Hopi, Crow Mother and Polik Mana Kachina Carving (c. 1940),
courtesy of the Portland Art Museum, Elizabeth Cole Butler Collection.
Kachina is a Pueblo word meaning "spirit father" or "life." Kachinas are divine spirits who personify aspects of nature such as clouds, sky, storms, and trees. Paula Gunn Allen's (Laguna Pueblo) retelling of a Yellow Woman story features a kachina. The Hopi will make kachina dolls for tourists, but Zuni kachina dolls are not sold. These dolls are made from cottonwood, paint, and feathers.

[8119] Pomo Tribe, Gift Baskets (c. 1900 -1940),
courtesy of Portland Art Museum, Elizabeth Cole Butler Collection.
Baskets play important roles in spiritual and medicinal rituals. Mabel McKay, a Pomo weaver, wove baskets under the guidance of a spirit who taught her healing songs and imbued her baskets with spiritual power. The baskets here are made from willow, sedge root, dogbane, clam shell, abalone shell, magnesite beads, and meadowlark, quail, bluebird, mallard, oriole, and flicker feathers.

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