Whalen, PhilipAlternative names
Philip Whalen (1923-2002) graduated from Reed College in 1951 on the GI Bill after serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II. It was at Reed that Whalen met and became friends with poets Gary Snyder and Lew Welch. Several years later, Whalen was one of the poets who read with Snyder and others at the historic Six Gallery reading in San Francisco on October 13, 1955. Allen Ginsberg first performed his poem, Howl, at the Six Gallery reading.
After spending several years in Japan, Whalen was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1973 and spent two decades in Zen Centers in San Francisco and New Mexico.
Whalen wrote nearly two dozen books including Memoirs of an Interglacial Age, Like I Say, On Bear's Head, The Kindness of Strangers: Poems, 1969-1974, Canoeing up Cabarga Creek: Buddhist Poems, 1955-1986, and Overtime: Selected Poems.
He passed away on June 26, 2002.
From the guide to the Philip Whalen Correspondence, 1978-1987, (University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.)
Born the only child of Glenn Henry and Phylis Arminta Bush Whalen in Portland, Oregon. Childhood spent in a small town on the Columbia River southeast of Portland called, The Dalles.
Writes first poem in high school social science class. Mother dies.
Graduates from high school. Family moves to Portland, Oregon
1943- 1946: Drafted in to the U.S. Army Air Corps. Trained to teach radio operation and repair.
Attends Reed College under the GI Bill.
1948- 1949?: Meets Lew Welch. Meets Gary Snyder soon thereafter.
Moves into rooming house where Lew Welch and Gary Snyder also lived. William Carlos Williams visits Reed on tour of western states. Whalen, Welch and Snyder give Williams their manuscripts for criticism. Also takes creative writing and calligraphy courses from Reed professor, Lloyd Reynolds.
Produces a small book of poems, Three Satires. Senior thesis project entitled, The Calendar. Graduates with a degree in Literature and Languages. Moves south to San Francisco, California and then to Venice, California, then returns to San Francisco.
Moves into an apartment with Gary Snyder. Spends the following three summers working at a fire station in the Skagit Valley of Mt. Baker National Forest.
Participates in the historic Six Gallery reading that included, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia, Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Soon after the reading he meets more of the Beat writers: Neal Cassidy, Gregory Corso, and Peter Orlovsky. Takes peyote for the first time.
1955- 1956?: Has first experimental Zen sesshin (meditation practice) with Gary Snyder, Albert Saijo and a few others in a cabin in Mill Valley, California.
Lives in Berkeley. Meets Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer. Moves to Newport, Oregon for the following two years.
Returns to San Francisco. Evergreen Review 2: The San Francisco Scene, which includes Whalen, is published. Meets Richard Baker at Grove Press in New York.
First full-length book of poems, Like I Say, published followed by Memoirs of an Interglacial Age. Included in Donald Allen's New American Poetry anthology.
Recipient of the Poets Foundation Award.
Writes first novel, You Didn't Even Try, which was later published in 1967.
Receives V.K. Ratliff Award.
NET (The National Educational Television Center) film series, USA: Poetry films a portrait of Whalen. Receives, with the help of Ginsberg, a grant-in-aid from the National Academy of Arts and Letters which helps him pay for his move to Kyoto, Japan.
1966- 1967: Lives in Kyoto, Japan where he teaches English, tours and writes. Gary Snyder and family living in Japan at the same time.
Returns to California.
On Bear's Head: Selected Poems published.
Severance Pay: Poems 1967-1969 published.
1969- 1971: Second trip to Japan. Stays with Richard Baker and family for a brief period.
Returns to Bolinas, California. Zentatsu Richard Baker Roshi invites Whalen to visit the Zen Center in San Francisco which Whalen accepts. Begins formal Zen training.
A novel, Imaginary Speeches for a Brazen Head is published. Whalen requests ordination as an Unsui (Zen monk).
Ordained as Unsui.
Takes the position of Shuso (acting head monk) at the Zen Mountain Center, in Tassajara Springs, California.
The Kindness of Strangers: Poems, 1969-1974 published.
Decompressions: Selected Poems published. Attends the Centrum Foundation poetry conference in Port Townsend, Washington.
The Diamond Noodle, a prose text, is published.
1981- 1982: Resident head monk at South Ridge Zendo in San Francisco.
Heavy Breathing, Poems 1967-1983 published. Attends the International Poetry Conference, Rome.
Presides as Tanto (practice leader) at the Dharma Sangha, Santa Fe, New Mexico under the direction of Zentatsu Richard Baker Roshi.
Two Novels a reprinting of two earlier books, You Didn't Even Try and Imaginary Speeches for a Brazen Head published.
Receives the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
At the end of July Whalen's formal training as Zen monk successfully completed. Receives The Fund For Poetry award.
Returns to San Francisco were he serves as Godo (head of practice) at the Hartford Street Zen Center. In November works as master in residence in poetry at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Becomes abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center, San Francisco.
1995- 1996?: Retires as abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center, San Francisco.
Canoeing up Cabarga Creek : Buddhist poems, 1955-1986 published.
Overtime: selected poems and Some of these days: poems published.
Philip Whalen dies in San Francisco, California.
From the guide to the Philip Whalen papers, circa 1940-2002, (The Bancroft Library.)
BIOGHIST REQUIRED Philip Whalen was born in Portland, Oregon in 1923 and grew up in The Dalles-- a small town in Oregon on the Columbia River. Whalen wrote his first poems while a high school student in The Dalles, but he began to write more seriously and identify himself as a poet while serving in the Air Force during World War II. His position training radio operators left him with ample down time in which to read and to write poetry. After the war ended, Whalen intended to pursue his interests in Asian literature and languages at the University of California at Berkeley, but his economic circumstances required moving back to his family's home in Portland. Back in Portland, Whalen attended Reed College on the GI Bill where he studied English and creative writing, and learned calligraphy from Lloyd Reynolds, a professor of art history and creative writing. It was also at Reed that Whalen met and befriended two other young poets, Lew Welch and Gary Snyder. The three lived together in a Portland rooming house and shared an affinity for the poems of William Carlos Williams and the rhythmic prose of Gertrude Stein. Though they never considered themselves part of an artistic or poetic movement, the three young poets would become core members of the Beat Generation and usher in a new style of West Coast poetry known as the San Francisco Renaissance.
BIOGHIST REQUIRED Though Whalen had been studying and writing poetry throughout college and for several years after graduating from Reed he published infrequently during the first few years of his career and was known mostly among other poets in San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest. It wasn't until his participation in the historic 1955 Six Gallery reading that he received national attention. The reading was organized to highlight the work being done by local San Francisco poets and was a major factor in bringing contemporary poetry, especially the work of the Beat poets, into the national cultural consciousness. The event, which was organized by Allen Ginsberg and hosted by Kenneth Rexroth, featured Whalen, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure and Philip Lamantia as well as Ginsberg, who read Howl for the first time at the event.
BIOGHIST REQUIRED Whalen's fame grew after the Six Gallery reading and he sold several poems to significant literary journals such as the Evergreen Review before the publication of two major book of poems in 1960, Memoirs of an Interglacial Age and Like I Say. The momentum around the west coast beats that started picking up after the Six Gallery reading continued and became codified with the publication of Don Allen's anthology The New American Poetry, 1945-1960 by the Grove Press. This anthology featured a number of emerging poets and served as a virtual who's who of contemporary poetry, including Whalen, who contributed several poems to the volume. Whalen continued to publish regularly collections of poetry such as On Bear's Head: Selected Poems, Severance Pay: Poems 1967-1969, The Kindness of Strangers: Poems, 1969-1974 through the 1990s. He also wrote three novels- a loose trilogy comprised of Imaginary Speeches for a Brazen Head, You Didn't Even Try, and The Diamond Noodle.
BIOGHIST REQUIRED In addition to being a poet, Whalen was also a devout Buddhist. He studied meditative practices and lived in Kyoto Japan in 1966 and 1967 writing immersing himself in Zen Buddhist practices. He was ordained at Zen Buddist priest in 1973 and rechristened Zenshin Ryufu, which means "Zen-mind-dragon-wind." He spent most of the later years of his life living in Zen Centers and monasteries, including a role as the abbot of a monastery in Santa Fe, New Mexico and at the Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco where he acted as abbot for the center and its associated AIDS hospice. He retired from his work as an active priest in 1996, but continued to write and publish poetry throughout the 1990s.
BIOGHIST REQUIRED Philip Whalen died June 26, 2006.
From the guide to the Philip Whalen Papers, 1941-1979., (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
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|referencedIn||Joel Oppenheimer Papers, 1925-1988.||Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries|
|referencedIn||Richard Brautigan Papers, 1942-2003, (bulk 1958-1984)||Bancroft Library|
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|referencedIn||Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994||Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.|
|referencedIn||Joanne Kyger Papers, 1950-2009||Mandeville Special Collections Library|
|creatorOf||Philip Whalen Correspondence, 1978-1987||University of California, Davis. General Library. . Dept. of Special Collections|
|referencedIn||Philip Whalen Collection., 1958-1977.||Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.|
|referencedIn||Aram Saroyan Papers., undated, 1950-1977.||Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.|
|referencedIn||Don Carpenter papers, 1950-1993||Bancroft Library|
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|referencedIn||Oyez Press Records., 1963-1987.||Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.|
|creatorOf||Philip Whalen Papers, 1941-1979.||Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,|
|referencedIn||Robert A. Wilson collection, 1906-2011||University of Delaware Library - Special Collections|
|referencedIn||Gary Snyder Papers, 1910-2003;, (1945-2002 bulk)||University of California, Davis. General Library. . Dept. of Special Collections|
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|referencedIn||Archive for New Poetry. Curator's Correspondence and Subject Files, 1974 - 1989||University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.|
|referencedIn||Love Magazine Archive, 1965-1968||Fales Library & Special Collections|
|creatorOf||Philip Whalen papers, circa 1940-2002||Bancroft Library|
|referencedIn||Jack Kerouac Papers, 1920-1977, 1935-1969||The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.|
|referencedIn||James Koller Papers., 1959-1986||Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.|
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