Philip Whalen

October 20, 1923 – June 26, 2002. He was born in Portland, Oregon and attended Reed College on the GI Bill, receiving a B.A. in 1951. He and Gary Snyder were roommates in college and both were readers at the Six Gallery on October 7, 1955. His poetry books include, Self Portrait from Another Direction, Auerhahn Press, San Francisco 1959; Memoirs of an Interglacial Age, Auerhahn Press, San Francisco 1960; Heavy Breathing: Poems, 1967 1980, Grey Fox Press, San Francisco 1983; Canoeing up Cabarga Creek: Buddhist Poems 1955 1986, Parallax Press, Berkeley 1996; and The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen, Wesleyan University Press, 2007. He spent 1966 and 1967 in Kyoto, Japan, assisted by a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. There, he practiced zazen daily, and wrote some forty poems and a second novel. He moved into the San Francisco Zen Center and became a student of Zentatsu Richard Baker in 1972. He was ordained a Zen Buddhist priest in 1973 and became head monk, Dharma Sangha, in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1984. In 1987, he received transmission from Baker, and in 1991, he returned to San Francisco to lead the Hartford Street Zen Center until forced by ill health to retire.