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Web of Proceedings - Francis Academic Press

The Way of Salvation in Gary Snyder’s Poetry

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DOI: 10.25236/ecomhs.2018.021


Liu Zhijie

Corresponding Author

Liu Zhijie


The American poet Gary Snyder’s poetry embodies rich Zen thoughts and ecological thoughts. He conveys the mutual dependence and reciprocal protection between human beings and nature in the course of the development of modern society. His poetry is based on an idealistic poetic realm of Chinese Zen thoughts and Thoreau. The ideal existence practice of Thoreau humanism and the Native American literary ecological thought are the main concepts in his poetry. Snyder integrates the quintessence of Zen ideology and the method of eco-poetic salvation in poetic creation. He hopes to find a new spiritual sustenance for the soul, return purely to “the heart”, “enlighten” in the secular world, and eventually achieve the “bright heart”. Gary Snyder, an environmentalist and great American poet, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1975 for his poetry collection “Turtle Island”. As a Zen believer, under the influence of “Dependent Origination and the Emptiness of Nature”, Snyder integrates Zen thoughts that are the very Zen aesthetics in his poetry. He comprehended the taste of life philosophy in his daily life, experienced various dwelling forms of life in practice, purifies the soul, and expressed the inner feelings through his works. His works are concerning the return to nature, advocating the way of natural harmony and Buddhist compassion. Taoist and Confucian thought in Snyder’s poetry are manifested as a unity of the heaven and the earth, demonstrating his awareness of ecological salvation.


Gary Snyder, Poetry, Salvation.