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Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the Cascadesby John Suiter
Synopses & Reviews
Based on scores of previously unpublished letters and journals, plus recent interviews with Snyder and Whalen and several others, Poets on the Peaks creates a group portrait of Kerouac, Snyder, and Whalen that transcends the tired urban cliches of the "Beat" life. Poets on the Peaks is about the development of a community of poets, including the famous Six Gallery reading of October 1955, and contains unexpected cameos by fellow poets and mountain-climbers Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Rexroth, Philip Lamantia, and Michael McClure. Poets on the Peaks is also a book about Dharma and the years of Dharma Bums — from the 1951 roadside revelation in the Nevada desert that led Gary Snyder to drop out of academia and head for Japan, to Kerouac's lonely vigil with The Diamond Sutra on Desolation Peak, to Philip Whalen's ordination as a Zen priest. Finally, Poets on the Peaks is the story of the birth of a wilderness ethic, as well as a photographic homage to the Cascades landscape, a landscape virtually unchanged since these men journeyed there thanks to the environmental protections they helped inspire.
Book News Annotation:
Boston-based writer and photographer Suiter volunteered as a fire watcher in 1995 while making pictures for a photo-essay commemorating Kerouac's sojourn on Desolation 40 years before. Later he met Snyder and Whalen and made further trips to the Oregon mountains. In addition to his own photographs are those of the poets during the 1950s. There is no index.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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