Thursday, March 23, 2017


One of my favorite poets and people, Joanne Kyger passed after a full life of over eighty-two years. If you don't know her work, you should. I see she's being classified as "A Beat Poet" in some obits (because she was married to poet Gary Snyder back in the day—who is often associated with "The Beats"—and of course they were friends with those who basically were considered "The Beats"), but her work was too unique to have it classified with any group.

I didn't spend much time in her presence over the years, but occasionally since I met her around 1970, around the time the photo above was taken (the fuller version). But we corresponded and I think read together at least once, and she was one of the first poets I asked for work for the anthology I put together in the 1970s called NONE OF THE ABOVE.

Here's a great quote from what I selected for that:

"When there is nothing to seek, then
            there is ease."

And here is a poem from 2003 that's being quoted around the Internet since the word got out that she'd passed, this was included in her giant collection ABOUT NOW:

Night Palace

"The best thing about the past

                                           is that it's over"

                              when you die.

            you wake up

from the dream

                                             that's your life.

Then you grow up

                         and get to be post human

                    in a past     that keeps happening

                ahead of you


Anonymous said...

I was saddened to hear of Joanne Kyger's passing from Phoebe MacAdams Ozuna. Joanne was a true poet. I talked to her once about going to high school in Santa Barbara with Leland Hickman. She said "We were writers for the high school newspaper & we thought we were very sophisticated." I asked Lee, before I had seen her read her poetry & later to have met her & communicated with her, about her style of reading & Lee said, "It's a dance." I will miss the beauty of her being & will reread her lyrical, lovely, perceptive poetry.
Harry E. Northup

Lally said...

beautifully put Harry, as always...