Shaped by an effortless breath line, Joanne Kygers poetry is gifted with exquisite sensory awareness, a landscape painters eye, and friendly compassion. It conducts an intimate debate on the process of language, always with a wonderful sense of humor, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes excoriating the bad behavior of miscreants and proponents of a false culture. Again: Poems 1989-2000, a long-awaited collection, spans a decade of daily life, deaths, seasons, bird migrations, journeysand the who, what, where, even the why of conscious human puttering. Each poem finds its own form as well as place in the accumulative totality of the book. Kygers work continues to be an ongoing narrative, the story time makes in a life, wise talk, notations and gossip. To read these poems is to sink deeply and fly gracefully at the same timeand suddenly discover your own life talking back. One of the acknowledged female Beat poets (although she herself dislikes that limiting designation), she has been an inspiration to countless other writers, women as well as men, the young as well as her peers.
Delve birdlike, or densely like a turtle, into Kyger's verses! Her work has been variously described as elegant, elliptical, and quick. I hear the crunch of semiprecious stones on Bolinas Beach, and suspension, not of disbelief, but of everything that isn't suspense.
Shes one of our hidden treasuresthe poet who really links the Beats, the Spicer Circle, the Bolinas poets, the New York School, and the Language poets, and the only poet who can be said to do all of the above.
Author of over 19 books, Joanne Kyger was born in 1934. She has played a vital role in the American poetry scene for more than four decades. She is one of the major experimenters, hybridizers, and visionaries of poetry. Her poems explore themes of friendship, love, community, and morality, and draw on Native American sources as well as the path of Buddhist religion and philosophy. Kyger arrived in San Francisco in 1957 during the Howl obscenity trials as a near-graduate of University of CaliforniaSanta Barbara. She soon met John Weiners, Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer and began to write and discuss poetry during "Sunday meetings." Her long publishing career began in 1965 with her first book, The Tapestry and the Web. She moved to Bolinas, California in 1968, where she has since lived, writing poetry, editing the local newspaper, travelling to Mexico, and teaching frequently at the Jack Kerouac School of Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.