Biography of Joanne Kyger
Joanne Kyger is an American poet. Her poetry is influenced by her practice of Zen Buddhism and her ties to the poets of Black Mountain, the San Francisco Renaissance, and the Beat generation.
Kyger studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before moving to San Francisco, in 1957, and becoming involved with the poetry scene around Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan.
In 1960 she joined Gary Snyder (whom she had met in San Francisco in 1958) in Japan. They were married on February 28, immediately after her arrival. She later travelled to India with Snyder, Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, where she met with the Dalai Lama. She returned to the United States in 1964 and her first book, The Tapestry and the Web was published the next year.
In 1965, she married Jack Boyce. They separated in the early seventies.
Kyger has published more than twenty books of poetry and prose, including Going On: Selected Poems, 1958–1980, (1983); and, Just Space: poems, 1979-1989 (1991). She has lived in Bolinas since 1968, where she has edited the local newspaper. She has also done some occasional teaching at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics of the Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado.
In 2000, her 1981 collection of autobiographical writings was republished as Strange Big Moon: Japan and India Journals, 1960-1964, which Anne Waldman has called "one of the finest books ever in the genre of 'journal writing'".
More recent poetry collections include God Never Dies (Blue Press), The Distressed Look (Coyote Books), Again (La Alameda Press), and As Ever: Selected Poems published by Penguin Books.
Her most recent book is About Now: Collected Poems from National Poetry Foundation. It won the 2008 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award for Poetry.
In 2006 she was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.
Joanne Kyger's Works:
Just Space: Poems 1979-1989 (1991) Black Sparrow Press. Illustrated by Arthur Okamura.
Strange Big Moon: The Japan and India Journals: 1960-1964 (2000) North Atlantic Books. Originally published in 1981 by Tombouctou Books as The Japan and India Journals, 1960-1964.
As Ever, Selected Poems, (2002) Penguin. Edited by Michael Rothenberg, Introduction by David Meltzer.
About Now: Collected Poems (2007) National Poetry Foundation.
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Joanne Kyger Poems
'The best thing about the past is that it's over'
Into the party, with engraved invitations, I am bored when I realize the champagne in the decrepit bowl is going to get filled up a lot. Well then, on the greens in front of the Mansion are walking Tom Clark and Ted Berrigan, what chums!
You Know When You Write Poetry You Find
You know when you write poetry you find the architecture of your lineage your teachers like Robert Duncan for me gave me some glue for the heart Beats which gave confidence
Morning Is Such A Welcome Time. It Doesn...
Morning is such a welcome time. It doesn't demand much from the pocket- Some coffee, a cigarette, and the day starts, full of optimism & clarity of hope While the Muse holds her head, and the crazy Elementals
Your Heart Is Fine
Your heart is fine feeling the widest possible empathy for the day and its inhabitants
Influences In Poetry
In a room getting ready for a party with Dotty, Ducan MacNaughton comes in and says 'Stephen Rodefer is on his way here to kill you!
The grasses are light brown and ocean comes in long shimmering lines under the fleet from last night
I saw the dead bird on the sidewalk his neck uncovered and prehistoric
The Crystal In Tamalpais
In Tamalpais is a big crystal. An acquaintance told me the story. A Miwok was giving his grandfather’s medicine bag to the Kroeber Museum in Berkeley. He said this man took him over the mountain Tamalpais, at a certain time
Buddhism Without A Book
Well, you had to find it some where another person passed simplicity on to you, the practice of some syllables the position of a seated body and you believe
what I wanted to say was in the broad sweeping form of being there
Sunday In The Storm Era
'these are extraordinary times' so we can do whatever we want ha ha
Tuesday, October 28
It was a beautiful golden day Now a black split shape scuttles under de foot. So long, Sayonara.
October 28, Take It Easier
I wonder what the ocean is like today? Cold and flat, hot and flat? Cold and whippy,, tide out, in? The sand will be warm, I'm sure
The grasses are light brown
and ocean comes in
long shimmering lines
under the fleet from last night
which dozes now in the early morning
Here and there horses graze
On somebody's acreage