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The Japan & India Journals, 1960-1964

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  57 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Published originally in 1981 as Japan and India Journals: 1960-1964, Strange Big Moon is Joanne Kyger's journal of her years in Japan and India as a young poet in her late twenties during four tumultuous years. They are years in which Kyger is developing a poetic sensibility and a Buddhist practice, which would become cornerstones of her life. She came back to San Francisc ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published 1981 by Tombouctou
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Forrest Gander
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastically attentive and personal glimpse into a moment in time when Joanne Kyger was coming into her own as a poet in the company of Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Clayton Eshleman, and Allen Ginsberg-- a lot of male energy-- as well as artists such as the wonderful Mark di Suvero. She lives in Japan, travels to India, sees The Mother in Pondicherry, watches Ginsberg turn into an egocentric bore in front of the Dalai Lama, etc. Much of her wrestling with herself in her diaries can be seen, in r ...more
Mitch
Aug 03, 2007 rated it liked it
Fantastic journal! Good for a lot of things, but what I got out of it (aside from Kyger's sharp observations & witty take on things new age) was it cleared out the cobwebs of hero-worship that I had built up at an early age in regard to Gary Snyder, who comes off as not just human, but quite an asshole. Now, anyone might expect such from an ex-wife, but Kyger tries very hard to be kind in her rendering of him, and even though her predjudices are obvious, the guy treats her like shit. No ques ...more
Connie Kronlokken
This book is a hoot. Joanne Kyger, as a 26-year-old, went to Japan to see Gary Snyder. "If you are going to live together, you must get married," said the head of the Zen Institute. So they did. It wasn't very successful, but the two of them were comrades while Gary studied and Joanne gardened, did flower arranging, thought about poetry and took care of the cats. Sounded like a somewhat hectic expat life in Kyoto from 1960 to 1964. Authenticity was important to Kyger, a spirited woman not afraid ...more
Renee
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pulchritudinous: as in Mahalia Jackson swinging it.
Jason
Jan 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I read this, but at the same time it's a really dry book that I wouldn't recommend to others. As Kyger writes in the introduction, "These journals were never rewritten or polished up for publication," and it's first and foremost someone's notebook, with all the to-do lists, lists of names of people she had dinner with the night before, etc, that come with the territory. I should also note that she was married to the legendary writer Gary Snyder at the time of these journals, which is wh ...more
Jeffrey
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love these journals. Yes they are a fascinating and in-depth account of the life of expatriates in the early sixties in Japan, and yes, they are the record of a tumultuous relationship between one of the most important poets of the last 50 years (Gary Snyder)and his then wife, Joanne Kyger, who I count as one of the great poets of the post-beat generation.
Most of all Strange Big Moon teaches us about great journal/diary style and the attempt to be as honest as possible with one's observations.
...more
Nicole D'Amato
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FINALLY a book about the woman's perspective on the beats. This was an awesome read and I felt like I really got to know Gary Snyder and Joanne Kyger through her journals. My good friend, Jared, recommended this to me before I departed on a trip to Japan - he lent it to me for my travels. Unfortunately, I didn't make it due to the tsunami - but I read the book anyways. Great read.
Ned
Sep 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
she reminds me of the simple human observer & my capacity to honor that in me & my own writing. what little things are you noticing? do you think everything matters? what about the persistent & determined work of writing & living? and another piece of the "beat history" drawn in to the puzzle.
Kristin Brenemen
Jun 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kristin by: exmemoriter
This is such a zen journal, true as advertised. Easy to consume in large bites despite being made of tiny pieces. A travel through Japan and India, but also through finding oneself and growing a marriage.
Tom
Sep 08, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, japan, kyger-joanne
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Joanne Kyger was an American poet. She published more than twenty books of poetry and prose. Kyger lived in Bolinas, California since 1968, where she edited the local newspaper. She also occasionally taught at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics of Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado.
More about Joanne Kyger...