Joanne Kyger, "a leading poet of the San Francisco Renaissance and a rare female voice of the male-dominated Beat generation," died March 22, the Chronicle reported. She was 82. Kyger wrote almost 30 collections of poetry, beginning with The Tapestry and the Web (1965). In Time: Poems 2005-2014, published by City Lights Publishers, she "showcased themes informed by her longtime practice of Zen Buddhism and her concern for the environment," the Chronicle noted. Her prose collections include Strange Big Moon: Japan and India Journals 1960-1964 (1981). She had been working on a new book, There You Are: Interviews, Journals, and Ephemera, which will be published in September by Wave Books.
City Lights publisher Elaine Katzenberger said Kyger "was a trailblazer, fearless and full of insight. Her poetry has influenced generations of younger poets, and there are many in the Bay Area and beyond who will be missing her fierce humor and generous mentorship."
Kyger's circle included poets Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan, as well as the man who would be her husband, from 1960 to 1964: Gary Snyder. The couple lived in Japan and traveled throughout India with the poets (and partners) Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, the Chronicle wrote. She returned to California in 1964.
"She was very much a poet of daily life and of nature," Garrett Caples, Kyger's editor at City Lights, told KQED. "And she used those as a vehicle to get in touch with more metaphysical questions.... The place of poetry has shifted so much in our culture versus when the beats were in their heyday. So she's the last in the group of poets thought of as not simply as poets but also commentators on world affairs."