September 15, 2013

"You mean there's a senator for all this?"

View looking NE into the Cascade Mtns. from Mount Rainier National Park.
Said by the very urban poet Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997), whom the not-so-urban poet Gary Snyder in the 1950s coaxed  into working one season as a fire lookout in the Cascades.

The incident is found on p. 31 of Snyder's book The Practice of the Wild, which is on my hypothetical desert-island book list.

And that whole brief era is described in detail in John Suiter's Poets on the Peaks.

It was probably the same summer that the two of them encountered a party of anglers on a forest trail and Ginsberg intoned, "WE are forest beatniks." A line that I will never have the opportunity to use.

2 comments:

Steve Bodio said...

I have always loved that Ginsberg announcement!

Chas Clifton said...

Actually, there were at least two more "forest beatniks" on the trail besides Ginsberg and Snyder, I should have written.