A native Californian, Joanne Kyger became part of the San Francisco poetry world in 1957 when she left Santa Barbara where she had attended both high school and the University of California. She arrived at the height of the Howl obscenity trial, where a friend introduced her to The Place, the bar that served as headquarters for Jack Spicer and other poets of the San Francisco Renaissance.
At the invitation of Joe Dunn and John Wieners she attended the Sunday Meetings lead by Spicer and Robert Duncan and gave her first reading at the Bread and Wine Mission in 1959. She then moved to Japan to join Gary Snyder who she had met during his return to California. She lived in Kyoto & also traveled to India with Snyder (joining up with Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky), events that are chronicled in Kyger’s Japan and India Journals 1960-64. After four years she returned to San Francisco in 1964 where her first book was published by Don Allen’s Four Season’s Press. Further travels took her to Europe and New York City before she settled on the coast north of San Francisco, from there making frequent trips to Mexico.
She has taught at the New College of California in San Francisco and for 30 years at the Summer Writing Program at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She has published over 20 books of poetry. She was the winner of the National Poetry Series in 1983 for her book Going On. Her most recent books of poems include Again (La Alameda Press), As Ever: Selected Poems published by Penguin Books, and About Now, published in 2007 by The National Poetry Foundation. Joanne Kyger is a Foundation for Contemporary Arts 2005 and 2006 Grant Recipient, a Marin Arts Council grant recipient a Small Press Traffic Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007, and a winner of the 2008 PEN Oakland–Josephine Miles Award in poetry.
The Tapestry and The Web. Four Seasons Foundation. San Francisco: 1965. 1,000 copies of which 27 are numbered and signed by the author and specially bound. 61 pp.
12 poets & 1 painter. Writing 2. Poems by LeRoi Jones, Joanne Kyger, Robert Creeley,Denise Levertov, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Duncan, Gary Snyder, Lew Welch, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Max Finstein & Bruce Boyd; six drawings by Jess Collins.Bound in printed paper wrappers. [San Francisco, Four Seasons Foundation; distributed by City Lights Books, c1964] -32 p. illus. 22.1 cm.
The Fool in April: A Poem. Broadside. Coyote Books. 1966.
Joanne. Angel Hair Books. 1970. 78pp.
Places to Go. Black Sparrow Press, 1970.Edition limited to 750 copies in paper wrappers;200 hardcover copies numbered and signed by the poet; 26 lettered presentation copies handbound in boards by Earle Gray & signed by the poet. 93pp.
I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes over again. Broadside. Kent State Arts Festival.Kent State University. Kent, Ohio. 1974
Lettre de Paris / Joanne Kyger, Larry Fagin. Published: [S.l.] : Botanists of the RueVercingétorix, 1976, c1977 ([Berkeley, Calif. : Poltroon Press])
Desecheo Notebook. Arif Press. Berkeley, CA. 1971. 500 copies printed by WesleyTanner. at Cranium Press. 37pp.
Trip Out and Fall Back. Arif Press, Berkeley. Drawings by Gordon Ball. 1974. 17 pages.
Truck : Tracks, Poems by Joanne Kyger and Franco Beltrametti. (Bolinas, CA: MesaPress. 1974). 10 pp.
All This Every Day. Big Sky. Berkeley,CA. 1975. 91pp
The hindrance of lustful desire . (San Francisco, CA : Cranium Press, CA.1979).Broadside ; 21 x 27 cm
This Other Thing, Bezoar #17. 1979.
The Wonderful Focus of You. Z Press. Calais, Vermont. 1980. 66 pp. Edition Limited to776 copies of which 26 are lettered and signed.
The Japan and India Journals: 1960-1964. Cover collage by Ken Botto, from an originalphoto work by Sophie Callle. Tombouctou, 1981. Bolinas, CA 280 pp.
Mexico Blonde’, Evergreen Press, CA. 1981. 30 Copies.
Up My Coast (adapted from the stories of C. Hart Merriam; Illustrations by Inez Storer.Floating Island Publications. Point Reyes Station, CA. 1981 (First published in Floating Island II by Floating Island Publications. 1977). 500 copies printed at the West Coast Print Center, Berkeley, Ca. 12pp.
I am now in Canada– words by Joanne Kyger; drawing by Arthur Okamura.Grindstone City, MI : Alternative Press, 1982?.1 sheet : ill. ; 16 cm. Yellow paper printed and illustrated in black; verso printed as a postcard.
The bodhisattva of compassion. Poltroon Press.Berkeley, Calif.: Poltroon Press, 1982, Broadside : ill. ; 53 cm. White paper printed in black and blue-gray; blindstamped illustration.
Going On: Selected Poems 1958-1980, E. P. Dutton, Inc. NY. 1983. 85 pages.
The Dharma Committee, Smithereens Press, 1986.
Phenomenological, Institute of Further Studies, 1989. Glover Publishing. Canton, NY. 30pp
Man-Women. (With Michael Rothenberg) Illustrated by Nancy Davis. Big Bridge Press,1988.
Book for Sensei: poems. Illustrations by Nancy Davis. Pacifica, CA : Big Bridge Press,1990. 16p. Published in an edition of 100 copies, 26 are hand colored, lettered A- Z and signed by the artist and the poets.
Just Space: Poems 1979-1990. Illustrated by Arthur Okamura). Black Sparrow Press.Santa Barbara & Ann Arbor by Graham Mackintosh & Edwards Brothers Inc. Published in wrappers and a hardover trade edition; 125 numbered hardcover copies signed by the poet; 26 signed lettered copies handbound in boards by Earl Gary; 11 special hardcover copies signed by the poet each with an original drawing by Arthur Okamura. 1991. 145pp.
The New Censorship. Poems by Joanne Kyger. Art by Donald Guravich. The NextSavage State Publishing Group. Denver, Colorado. January, 1994. 21pp.
Some Sketches from the Life of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. (Boulder: RodentPress, 1996). 22pp.
Patzcuaro. (San Francisco: Blue Millennium, 1999). 29 pp.
Some Life. (Sausalito: The Post Apollo Press, 2000). 34pp.
Strange Big Moon, The Japan and India Journals. 1960-1964. (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Press, 2000). 281 pp.
Again. (Alberquerque, NM: La Alameda Press, 2001). 173 pp.
The Distressed Look, Coyote Books, 2004
God Never Dies, Blue Press Books, 2004
About Now, Collected Poems by Joanne Kyger (Orono, Maine: National Poetry Foundation, 2007) 798 pp.
Bio from Michael Rothenberg