Dharma Bums: Hiking & Haiku


  • Poetry Barn 1693 New York 28A West Hurley, NY, 12491 United States

"A real haiku’s gotta be as simple as porridge and yet make you see the real thing, " Japhy Ryder (aka Gary Synder, in The Dharma Bums).

Jack Kerouac's 1958 novel The Dharma Bums is a chronicle of some of the greatest Beat and Americana authors of all time. Poets like Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, among others, are all fictitiously portrayed in The Dharma Bums.

This two-day workshop will adopt one of the novel's central points of inspiration—mountains. Although it will be impossible to take a tour of the famous mountains Ray Smith does in The Dharma Bums, we will challenge ourselves, in the pursuit of inspiration, with a moderate hike on the Catskill's Ashokan High Point Trail, near the Poetry Barn.

By focusing on nature, and the simple, short, yet profound image, we will take notes for crafting poems during a morning hike and lunch on the mountain, followed by a late afternoon descent.

Once we return to the Barn, we will have a chance to relax, sit by the firepit, share our day’s experiences, listen to some music, and socialize. Tenting overnight on the premises is available, as are nearby accommodations.

The next day, we will have a poem to work on, or some notes to start working with. We'll come together to share the poems in workshop, and end the day with another short walk around the Ashokan Reservoir.

Suggested donation: $25