Gary Snyder Letters to Shandel Parks, 1953-1966 (MSS 0719)

Extent: 0.2 Linear feet (1 archives box)

Letters from poet Gary Snyder to Sally "Shandel" Parks, friend and prominent member of the local San Francisco Bohemian scene, written during the period from June 1953 to April 1966. Collection contains letters, postcards, poems, and ephemera - including one photograph, sea glass, and a hand-drawn map.

Born May 8, 1930, in San Francisco, Gary Snyder spent most of his youth in Washington State and Oregon, where he received his BA in anthropology at Reed College, Portland, in 1951. He studied Oriental languages at U.C. Berkeley from 1953 to 1956; while at Berkeley, Shandel Parks introduced him to poets Kenneth Rexroth, Shunryon Suzuki and Philip Whalen, among others. During this time he also associated with Beat writers including Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Snyder left Berkeley in 1956 for Japan where he studied Zen Bhuddism. For the next twelve years Snyder alternated between California and Japan before settling back in California in 1968.

Snyder's first book of poems, Riprap, was published in 1959. Since then he has published 17 other works of poetry and prose and won numerous literary prizes including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (1969-70), a Bollingen Foundation Fellowship (1966-1969), the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Turtle Island (1974) and the Bollingen Prize for Poetry for Mountains and Rivers Without End (1996).

The Gary Snyder Letters to Shandel Parks collection dates from 1953 to 1966 and comprises 16 letters and 7 postcards, all written by Snyder, and 3 typed responses from Parks, only one of which was sent. Within the correspondence are pre-publication versions of the poems "Numerous Broken Eggs" and "Maitreya." The letters are arranged chronologically by either the date on the letter or the postmark on the envelope. Also included is a passport-sized black and white headshot photograph of Gary Snyder and an envelope sent from Snyder to Parks containing small pieces of sea glass.

Container List


Letters from Snyder to Parks, 1953-1966
Box: 1 Folder: 1

Includes sea glass in its original envelope postmarked June 2, 1953.

Box: 1 Folder: 2
Box: 1 Folder: 3
Box: 1 Folder: 4
Box: 1 Folder: 5
Box: 1 Folder: 6
Box: 1 Folder: 7
Letters from Parks to Snyder, 1953
Box: 1 Folder: 8
Portrait photograph of Gary Snyder, undated