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Gary Snyder

Reading of “Myths & Texts” and other poems at Reed

Reed College, February 14, 1956

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On February 13, 1956, Gary Snyder ’51 returned to Reed College with Allen Ginsberg for a poetry reading at Anna Mann Cottage. The next day, when the poets read again, the unscheduled event was recorded. The reel of audiotape containing the Ginsberg reading, including his reading of “Howl,” was discovered in 2007 in Reed’s Hauser Library by John Suiter, a writer doing research for a biography of Snyder. Beside the reel was a note that contained disappointing news about the Snyder half of the reading: “Tape #1 Missing.” The morning after the story of Reed’s “Howl” tape broke—and scores of newspapers around the world reported on it—Steven Halpern ’85, a Portland-based photographer, showed up at the door of Reed’s special collections with an audiocassette copy of the missing tape. He had made the copy 25 years before as an English major doing research on Snyder’s friend and fellow-poet Lew Welch ’50. Tape 1 contains a superb copy of Snyder’s reading—virtually equal in sound quality to the Ginsberg companion reel—and a lengthy selection of 46 Snyder poems.