Excerpt from Letter to Geoffrey Oelsner, November 1, 2005
… I left Oberlin with two great loves— the poems and life of Gary Snyder and the poems of the Spanish language poets. They couldn’t be more different. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both…” I spent a summer after Oberlin camping under the stars all over the west, including Snyder’s Mt. Baker National Forest, Samish Bay, Oregon, the Rockies of Colorado, trying to write like him. In the end, I dropped that “path.” In love with the Chinese and Japanese poets, I dropped that path too a few years later on. I was so at home in that Buddhist world, so why “drop it?” Basically, it felt like “been there, done that,” — and for how many lifetimes? And how many lifetimes doing Catholicism too. In the end, I needed “out,” out of any tradition, out of ritual, chant, repetition, ready-made names and terms. I needed to Spirit, God directly, without any meditation, on my own terms, in my own language, and only a metaphorical language— as those Spanish poets seemed to know— would eventually hold some answers for me.
© The Estate of Sandford Lyne