Kyger, Joanne

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1934-11-19
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Joanne Kyger is a West Coast poet who emerged as the Beat movement was beginning to wane in the 1960s. Kyger attended the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1952 to 1956, where she took classes with Hugh Kenner and Paul Wienphal both of whom were important to the development of her poetry. In 1957 she met John Wieners at The Place, a poetry bar, and through him met Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer; it was also during this time that she first met Gary Snyder. Later Kyger moved to the East West House, where such writers as Philip Whalen, Lew Welch, and Jack Kerouac were occasional residents. In 1960 she moved to Japan, where she and Snyder were married. Her life with Snyder in Kyoto and later India is the subject of "The Japan and India Journals, 1960-1964" (1981). In 1965 Donald Allen published her first book, "The Tapestry and the Web." In 1966 Kyger married the painter Jack Boyce. They returned to the San Francisco area in 1967 where they spent the next year. In 1968 the two travelled to Bodega Bay, then to Bolinas in 1969, where Kyger has continued to live. In the 1970s Bolinas was known for being a center for poets, as well as a home for Philip Whalen, Robert Creeley, Donald Allen, Tom Clark, and others.

From the description of Joanne Kyger papers, 1950-2009. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 649467824

American poet, born 19 November 1934 in Vallejo, California. An important member of the "post-Beat" West Coast poetry community.

Author of more than 10 books of verse. Married to poet Gary Snyder, 1960-1964.

From the description of Correspondence, 1957-1975. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 18494483

Biography

Joanne Kyger is a West Coast poet who emerged as the Beat movement was beginning to wane in the 1960s. The daughter of Jacob and Anne Kyger, she was born November 19, 1934. Her father's career as a navy officer led to a peripatetic early life: by the time she was fourteen she had lived in Vallejo, Ca. (where she was born), China, Washington, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois. Her father retired in 1949, and the family settled permanently in Santa Barbara, Ca.

Kyger attended the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1952 to 1956, where she took classes with Hugh Kenner and Paul Wienphal both of whom were important to the development of her poetry. She left the University one unit short of her degree, and the following year moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Kyger soon got a job working at Brentano's Bookstore in San Francisco's North Beach, and she usually spent her nights sharing poems with friends at poetry bars. In 1957 she met John Wieners at The Place, one of the poetry bars, and through him met Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer; it was also during this time that she first met Gary Snyder. Duncan and Spicer were the doyens of a group of poets who would gather on Sundays to read and discuss each other's work. Kyger said of those meetings: "They (Duncan and Spicer) would read what they had written, and everybody else would read what they had written. And you would be severely criticised. A lot of people would be so heavily criticised that they wouldn't come back."

Later Kyger moved to the East West House, where such writers as Philip Whalen, Lew Welch, and Jack Kerouac were occasional residents. In 1960 she moved to Japan, where she and Snyder were married on February 23. There were two ceremonies: one by the American consul and another at the Daitoku ji monastery in Kyoto. Her life with Snyder in Kyoto and later in India is the subject of The Japan and India Journals, 1960-1964 (1981).

Following her divorce from Snyder in 1964 Kyger returned to the Bay Area. She has said about this time, "I just took off on this big energy cruise. I had lots to say to everybody, and it wasn't like playing second fiddle anymore." The following year Donald Allen published her first book, The Tapestry and the Web (1965).

In 1966 Kyger married the painter Jack Boyce, and together they travelled through Spain, France, Italy, and England. Upon their return Kyger and Boyce stayed briefly in New York, and then in 1967 returned to the San Francisco area where they spent the next year. In 1968 the two traveled to Bodega Bay, then to Bolinas in 1969, where Kyger has continued to live (she and Boyce separated in 1970). In the 1970s Bolinas was known for being a center for wandering poets, as well as a home for Philip Whalen, Robert Creeley, Donald Allen, Tom Clark, and others. Kyger has maintained an active presence in the community, and has been particularly concerned with environmental issues. She has also continued to travel extensively including several trips to Mexico while continuing to publish her poetry.

From the guide to the Joanne Kyger Papers, 1950-2009, (Mandeville Special Collections Library)

Biography

Joanne Kyger is a West Coast poet who emerged as the Beat movement was beginning to wane in the 1960s. The daughter of Jacob and Anne Kyger, she was born 19 November 1934. Her father's career as a navy officer led to a peripatetic early life: by the time she was fourteen she had lived in Vallejo, Ca. (where she was born), China, Washington, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois. Her father retired in 1949, and the family settled permanently in Santa Barbara, Ca.

Kyger attended the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1952 to 1956, where she took classes with Hugh Kenner and Paul Wienphal both of whom were important to the development of her poetry. She left the University one unit short of her degree, and the following year moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Kyger soon got a job working at Brentano's Bookstore in San Francisco's North Beach, and she usually spent her nights sharing poems with friends at poetry bars. In 1957 she met John Wieners at The Place one of the poetry bars and through him met Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer; it was also during this time that she first met Gary Snyder. Duncan and Spicer were the doyens of a group of poets who would gather on Sundays to read and discuss each other's work. Kyger said of those meetings: "They (Duncan and Spicer) would read what they had written, and everybody else would read what they had written. And you would be severely criticised. A lot of people would be so heavily criticised that they wouldn't come back."

Later Kyger moved to the East West House, where such writers as Philip Whalen, Lew Welch, and Jack Kerouac were occasional residents. In 1960 she moved to Japan, where she and Snyder were married on February 23. There were two ceremonies: one by the American consul and another at the Daitoku ji monastery in Kyoto. Her life with Snyder in Kyoto and later in India is the subject of Japan and India Journals 1960 64 (1981).

Following her divorce from Snyder in 1964 Kyger returned to the Bay Area. She has said about this time, "I just took off on this big energy cruise. I had lots to say to everybody, and it wasn't like playing second fiddle anymore." The following year Donald Allen published her first book, THE TAPESTRY AND THE WEB.

In 1966 Kyger married the painter Jack Boyce, and together they travelled through Spain, France, Italy, and England. Upon their return Kyger and Boyce stayed briefly in New York, and then returned to the San Francisco area. Within a few months they moved to Bolinas, north of San Francisco Bay, where Kyger has continued to live (she and Boyce separated in 1970). In the 1970s Bolinas was known for being a center for wandering poets, as well as a home for Philip Whalen, Robert Creeley, Donald Allen, Tom Clark, and others. Kyger has maintained an active presence in the community, and has been particularly concerned with environmental issues. She has also continued to travel extensively including several trips to Mexico while continuing to publish her poetry.

Selected Bibliography: THE TAPESTRY AND THE WEB (1965), JOANNE, PLACES TO GO (1970), DESECHEO NOTEBOOK (1971), TRIP OUT AND FALL BACK (1974), ALL THIS EVERY DAY (1975), THE WONDERFUL FOCUS OF YOU (1980), UP MY COAST, THE JAPAN AND INDIA JOURNALS 1960-64, MEXICO BLONDE (1981), GOING ON: SELECTED POEMS 1958-80 (1983).

From the guide to the Joanne Kyger Correspondence, 1957-1975, (University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.)

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Subjects:

  • Surfers--Poetry
  • Women poets
  • Women poets--United States
  • Surfing--Poetry
  • American poetry--20th century

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • California--Bolinas (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)