New Mexico History Museum

The New Mexico History Museum and The Lensic Present An Evening with Gary Snyder, Hosted by Jack Loeffler May 14, 2017

March 10, 2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2017 (Santa Fe, NM)—The man known as the “the Godfather of Counterculture,” Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder ignites Santa Fe’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 5pm, with “An evening with Gary Snyder, Hosted by Jack Loeffler.” Snyder’s keynote address launches this summer’s multi-venue multi-partner cultural collaboration, Be Here Now: Summer of Love Santa Fe. This event coincides with the opening day of the exhibition Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest at the New Mexico History Museum.

When concerts and gatherings on the West Coast emboldened a generation of the nation’s youth, New Mexico was swept up in the ensuing social and environmental revolution. From the mid-1960s into the 1970s, New Mexico’s open skies and cross-cultural environment sparked a pilgrimage of those seeking alternative living situations, galvanized to fight social and political injustices. 

Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest opens May 14, 2017 and is on view through February 11, 2018. The exhibition examines this period of the Cultural Revolution through archival footage, oral histories, photography, ephemera and artifacts. The exhibition introduces visitors to numerous founding fathers of the counterculture and first-hand narratives about the commune experience. It examines how these forms of rebellion inform contemporary social and political questions about being an engaged citizen.

Snyder will share his perspective and personal experiences on the rise of the countercultural West Coast scene and his role as a literary godfather to those who sought alternatives to the mainstream. He will present on his contributions via poetry and prose and share insights into the cross-pollination between the California and New Mexico scenes from the 1950s to the present. "For some of us, myself included, there is a bundle of connected values that is respect for nature, recognition of the importance of place, and grasping that nature happens somewhere always. It’s not an abstraction,” said Snyder. “The place you are is where you find nature, not someplace else. And that in turn translates into ecosystems, biomes, or bioregions. So, we have a lineage from Native American to bioregions. And then that is enforced again by the ethics of Buddhism and the concern for all living beings which informs modern ecology to some small degree.”

Born in San Francisco, Snyder’s bucolic, Depression-era childhood in the Pacific Northwest was indelibly altered by a childhood injury at seven that turned Snyder into a voracious reader and sparked an enduring passion for nature and Native Americans’ relationship to it. After youthful stints as a newspaper copy boy, camp counselor, and seaman, Snyder graduated Reed College in 1951 with a double degree in anthropology and literature. An itinerant poet with a growing interest in Buddhism, Snyder’s many positions and international travels kept him close to nature. Experiencing the “Beat Generation” founders Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac first-hand as contemporaries, Snyder’s background, love of nature, studies of Buddhism, and diverse experiences made him unique among the ‘Beat’ elite and led to his association with the First Zen Institute of America.

Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest co-curator Jack Loeffler will share his perspective as it is reflected in the exhibition, book, and radio series and will introduce Snyder. 

“It has long been intuited by indigenous peoples, and lately recognized by science that we share common biological ancestry with every other species,” said Loeffler.  “Indeed, that juniper tree outside my window, the nearby yucca, those pesky ravens, all living organisms that we can find anywhere on this planet--are kindred.  It’s high time to invigorate a new wave of heightened consciousness to figure out the details necessary for a more fruitful culture of practice."

The lecture begins at 5pm, Sunday May 14, 2017 at The Lensic, Santa Fe’s Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $25 each and may be may be purchased online at, by calling 505-988-1234, or by visiting the Lensic box office at 211 W. San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

Photo: Jack Loeffler and Gary Snyder, photo by Jack Loeffler.

Media Contact: Jennifer Padilla 505-577-1347

About Be Here Now: Counterculture in New Mexico: Be Here Now: Counterculture in New Mexico is a collaboration forged between the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MOCNA) exhibition Connective Tissue; New Mexico History Museum (NMHM) exhibitions Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest in the Southwest and Sleeping During the Day: Vietnam 1968; the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) exhibition Into the Future The Cultural Power of Native Art; and the Santa Fe Desert Chorales 2017 Summer Festival Season. The Museum Resources Division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs is implementing the program. 

Related Photos

Gary Snyder and Jack Loeffler
Gary Snyder

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