Category Archives: Writing Life

links and asides about writing craft, writer’s lives, creative processes and publishing + discourse about literature

Gary Snyder speaks, poet via video link

+ Poetic Convo & Reading w/ hero Gary Snyder +

Legendary poet and naturalist and my personal hero, Gary Snyder in rare one hour+ conversation and reading with free registration via {online streaming service provider}

[Especially nice if you missed, or as a companion to, the tribute to him commemorating an anthology published by the Library of America – or whatever it’s called]

Photo by Wang Ping // the poet with sons Gen & Kei at Kitkitdizze, 2022(?)

You may know Mr. Snyder from the San Francisco poetry Renaissance, the transpacific poetic connection, sparking various coliving/commune experiences in Japan, translating the Han Shan poems, travels through India and Nepal, homesteading in the Shasta bio-region of California at Kitkitdizze, Pulitzer prize for poetry, dozens of collections of essays – and of course – poetry, oh and working as an oiler on freight ships, as a timber puller, mountain top fire lookout, trail builder, activating with the “wobblies” not to mention fixing all manner of machines, hosting nekkid sauna parties & bringing two intrepid children (now remarkable adults obviously) Gen & Kai into the world with Masa Uehara #AxeHandles

“How to start a revolution”

As well as collaborating with &/or inspiring Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Whalen, Joanne Kryger, Masa Uehara, Carole Koda, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Neal Cassady, Peter Coyote, correspondences with Wendell Berry and Edward Abbey et al and reading at the legendary “Six Poets at Six Gallery” event in San Francisco w/ aforementioned Ginsberg, Whalen + Michael McClure, Phillip Lamanthia, hosted by Kenneth Rexroth (I have a video about this historic event), & most recently his sublime convos & translations with Wang Ping.

Details and registration link follow:

Unsurprisingly, dozens of mixed media artifacts concerning the goodly Mr. Snyder exist throughout this archive including “Postcards from Gravelly Beach” podcast, various Beat lit/trans specific poetry Renaissance video dispatches, musings and meditations about his poetry etc.

Plus, you might enjoy some exhibit artifacts at the Beat Museum in North Beach, San Francisco.

{Various photos of the poet with friends follow, uncredited – with apologies – and unannotated, for decorative purposes only, govern yourself accordingly}

My Dharma riff in Ginsberg newsletter

Quick hit to say:

The Allen Ginsberg weekly newsletter of goodness included a gracious name check and link to my round up about the Dharma Bums and other Kerouac artifact auction at Sotheby’s, saying:

Upcoming at auction at Sotheby’s “Important Modern Literature from the Library of an American filmmaker”  (one is tempted to ask who, of course), scheduled for next Friday, December the 8th.

“This collection features an impressive assemblage of Jack Kerouac materials”, the auction house notes, “including signed letters, inscribed copies of his novels, and, most notably, the original typescript scroll manuscript of The Dharma Bums“. For a full viewing of the Kerouac items see here


More on the auction (and the background to the auction) from Dave Olson’s Creative Life Archive – here

The Allen Ginsberg Project: Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 554

For the record, I added this to the comments:

Continue reading My Dharma riff in Ginsberg newsletter

Dharma Bums on auction (*only* a significant spark which arc’d the transpacific poetry renaissance)

Dharma Bums Typescript at Sottebys auction as part of “Important Modern Literature from the Library of an American Filmmaker”

Any speculation who;s stash is up for auction? Loads from Kerouac but also James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Wm S Burroughs, Raymond Carver, Allen Ginsberg, John Cheever, TS Eliot, Wm Faulkner, Ian Fleming, E. Hemingway, A. Huxley, G.G. Marquez, H. Miller, V. Nabakov, E. O’Neil, J. O’Hara, J.D. Salinger (1st edition of Catcher in the Rye… what is this the same edition i have? wtf?), ok i gotta check this out.

Anyone in New York City able to go catch the auction? Lots close on Dec. 8th as i understand… Would make a heck of a Christmas present ?

Anyhow, Dharma Bums has a $240K USD opening bid with $300-500K estimate {my guess is $650K+ USD}

Including: “a green quarter morocco slipcase and chemise.” {best feature!}

Any of you in the area to go document the proceedings? (and say “hallo” to the new custodian)

Kerouac Big Sur Postcard

There are a whole bunch of other Kerouac artifacts up on this auction block including many typed letters including to Allen Ginsberg and other notable characters.

While most items, starting obviously with the original rolled typescript of “Dharma Bums” are a couple $,000 beyond me, can’t help but notice this original Kerouac Postcard from Big Sur which seems like it should *really be* in my kura studio – I mean it hits all of my marks right?

The price is not as eye-watering and the postmark is lovely.
Estimate 1,000 – 2,000 USD
Starting Bid 600 USD

Continue reading Dharma Bums on auction (*only* a significant spark which arc’d the transpacific poetry renaissance)

Still life: books of lists, etc for (Shaun Usher)

still life of books under a mosquito net on bedsheets
Lists 2. Of 3. Note.

(for Karina, Billy and Danny)


As seen under a mosquito net in a cottage in provincial Japan – with

Wade Davis' "into the silence"
RickRubin's "creative act"
notebook/pen for scribbling musings, freeverse and of course, lists
{kerchief from India}

Note: Shaun Usher has curated/compiled/edited a remarkable series of beautifully designed oversized hardback books containing “letters of note” and in this case “lists of note”.

So very highly recommended for the obsessive and curious. I understand there are even performances with actors on stage reading some of the letters but I don’t really know the details.

Books: tatami-side reading, currently

Of possible interest to small subset of humans:

current tatami-bedside reading / cycle through these (plus kiddo’s awsum books & – rather under-whelming Paris Review) semi-simultaneously as notion strikes

Includes: L. Ferlinghetti, DT Suzuki, H. Hesse, W. Davis, R. Rubin, K. Babbs & a compilation about Kyoto with my pal Tedward Taylor + own journal musings, natch

Do you read many books at once and delightfully remix them all in your head? Or do you stick to a more sensible and linear approach of one at a time?

{Answer not expected, unless…}

Item (by post): Rick Rubin’s “The Creative Act” book + *wondering how to turn off*

Rick Rubin’s book arrived, in glorious hard cover. Lovely design and I’m sure full of goodness.

If I had my head together, I would give you a list of all these great recent interviews, including with Neil Young, Malcolm Gladwell and dozens of others – each one better than the last…

Plus a list of albums he produced (but you probably already know that), and namecheck that show he did with Paul McCartney where he deconstructs and unpacks stories songs which are so familiar in genial black-and-white goodness… however, im busy wearing my s3xy robot maid outfit tidying up the kitchen and just taking a break so you’re on your own

It’s a “creative act” after all.

[update, a few notes]:

In brief:

Note: it’s meditations, prompts, thoughts and musings about creativity… What it is, how to harness it, how to block out noise and negativity and do your own thing – and why all of that matters.

Note: super wise and for “real musicians” and sound engineers, he can come off as a bit of a edge case because he’s not technical in any sense… Has produced dozens of important albums but doesn’t really run a sound/mixing desk, doesn’t read music or play instruments per se but has an ability to bring out the vibe, push artists further into their work and produce something somewhat unexpected but somehow just right (usually).

His conversations with Neil Young are particularly good… Just listened to a Longform conversation with Iggy Pop as well and watch the series he did with Paul McCartney where he deconstructs Beatles/wings songs

Here’s a great overview of the book from the podcast Rick does with Malcolm Gladwell. In this case, appropriately, Malcolm interviewing Rick about the book.

Note: If you’re really curious… Here’s an extended conversation between renegade history pod maker Dan Carlin and Rick Rubin spanning all sorts of topics in and around his book but with numerous digressions, diversions and riffs

It’s not a “how to” or technical book.

Since I’m here,

Real question for “obsessive creative latent perfectionist” types:

How do you let go of the feeling of wanting to be doing all the time? How do you set aside creative ambitions and ‘turn off’?

I try to find balance & take long baths but always want to be “making” something.

{noted from bed #MECFS crash recovery mode – and yes, being in bed is the best place for me to be to recover from recent activities as the most important thing in my life is to take care of myself so I can be a good hubbo and pappa… So there’s that, just wanna wanna wanna…}

Poetry Reading: Muriel’s Journey “Fire in the Heart” book + round-up

Gist: I read a poem at Word Vancouver online event with a splendid group of poets! Thanks to Isabella Mori and Muriel’s Journey folks for including me, and hat-tip to Kyle Hawke for editing.

here’s the whole event, stick-handled by Adam, i’m around the 28 min mark

Tip: buy the “Fire from the Heart: Winners of the 2022 Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize” chapbook and read these poems. Powerful medicine!

Score directly from Amazon Japan for ¥964 {Also available from other country specific Amazon of course}

“Fire from the Heart: Winners of the 2022 Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize”
Continue reading Poetry Reading: Muriel’s Journey “Fire in the Heart” book + round-up

Poetry: Reading “Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists” for Muriel’s at Word Vancouver (but from Japan)

I’m reading at this unique & enchanting poetry event. Online & in person in Vancouver as part of 2022 Muriel’s Journey Poetry prize at Word Vancouver..

  • Canada/USA: Sept 17, Saturday, 4-5PM Pacific (7-9PM Eastern)
  • Japan: Sept 18, Sunday, 8-9AM

Tickets are free but you gotta register >> Free tix here:

Swan’s matches not provided as the reading is remote through ‘warm media’

I’m reading “Alchemists Confer with Hypnotists” / A poem which came out of my long healing ramble.

Update: you can also purchase a book “Fire from the Heart: Winners of the 2022 Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize” (from Azm below or better from your fave bookstores to order from Ingram) featuring the poems of the various award winners, including me.

PS when you buy your copy, let me know and I’ll send you a postcard to say thanks & you can use as a book plate/bookmark.

Please join me and other compelling poets for free hugs & magic. My heart would be so bright knowing you were at the other end of the screen.

Riff: Find a medium to fit your story

Tell your stories in the way that feels comfortable, like your favorite pair of shoes.

all the mediums are yours, just bring your unique story to make

Document in the way it feels natural to you. Doesn’t have to be a blog, can be a notebook with colored pencils, or buy yourself a fountain pen, or an audio recorder.

Indeed, whatever medium/form”add context and interestingness to tell a story,

Fck stats make art.

PS Vincent van Gogh was a heck of a letter writer, Henry David Thoreau was a solid botanist, Bob Dylan is a great painter, Joni Mitchell even more so, Nick Cave is an exceptional organizer… shall I go on? No no, you go on. (And let me know what you make)

Riff: blueprint for a creative process / Vancouver Stories (prezo plan)

The “origin document“ of Forgotten Vancouver Stories talk

Projects of all kinds, a talk/presentation in this case, usually start with some kind of plan… (seems obvious so i’ll explain further).

In this instance, this is the *origin document* of what turned into a talk for Pecha Kucha night Vancouver “All-Star edition” at Vogue Theatre in the 20 slides for 20 seconds each format. e

Later, the “slides” became part of a longer form version at “Poets, Punks and Revolutions: Forgotten Vancouver Stories,” Northern Voice in a three-dimensional mixed media environment (campfire on stage, easels, record players, a comfortable chair and so on.

The idea started at a sort-of-secret-hideout with single malt, in conversation with a (now-former) mayor of Vancouver, his chief of staff, and the CEO of a significant company. Realizing the mayor didn’t really know a lot of renegade Vancouver stories, especially around counter-culture, I riffed off a few and later thought might be useful, amusing/educational/entertaining, or whatever for a wider audience.

Continue reading Riff: blueprint for a creative process / Vancouver Stories (prezo plan)