Something Like #22: The Mycelian Path
Gary Snyder, that great Beat writer and partner to Joanne Kyger, spoke of mushrooms as “the completion of the work of a poet”. 22 October 2020.


≈≈ An important disclaimer for Something Like listeners: Please, please, please do NOT pick and eat wild mushrooms unless you are an experienced forager, or are doing so with an experienced forager. Even then, be sure to thoroughly consult and cross-reference field guides before you put any wild mushroom in your belly. The devil is in the details: If you’re not sure of what you have, err on the side of caution. Most mushrooms won’t kill you, but some (like many amanitas) almost certainly will. Know the details of what you want to pick, and know the common symptoms of poisoning (like S.L.U.D.G.E.). And hey, even if you don’t yet feel comfortable picking mushrooms to eat, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy getting low and appreciating these fascinating little guys! ≈≈


Takamato ridge, crowded with expanding caps,

filling up, thriving—

the wonder of autumn aroma.

From the eighth-century Japanese poetry collection Man-nyo Shu


Gary Snyder, that great Beat writer and partner to Joanne Kyger, spoke of mushrooms as “the completion of the work of a poet”. The emergent fruits of the vast informational subterranean web known as mycelia are fed by decaying matter, and the “immediate biomass of perception, sensation, and thrill”, enacts a process of recycling—a process that both fungi and artists know well. In this episode of Something Like, we take an extended stroll through the forest, scouring edge habitats in search of what we might call the mycological way.

This episode holds plenty of lonnnnnng new age and minimal lingerings, a couple dungeon synth tracks, and hopefully just enough Terrence McKenna to get your otherworldly senses tingling.

I’m what you might call a resolute amateur in all things mycological, so please be kind if I mix up a few details along the way!

  • The albums you hear under my voice are:
  • The Obsolescent Arborist: Tree, Timber and Forest (2018)
  • Coniferous Myst: (2019).
  • Intro jingle tunes provided by my dearest buddy and collaborator, Roger 3000.
  • This episode, like so many things in my life, wouldn’t be possible without the help and forest companionship of another main buddy: Elif Saydam.
  • Here’s some reference material:
    • The Song of the Earth, by Jonathan Bateman (in which he references Gary Snyder)
    • Mushrooms Demystified, by David Arora
    • All that the Rain Promises, by David Arora
    • The Mushroom at the End of the World, by Anna Tsing
    • Fungipedia: A Brief Compendium of Mushroom Lore by Lawrence Millman
  • This episode originally aired on Cashmere Radio and 96.5 CHFR Hornby Island Community Radio


Eola, This is the World, Dang, 2016
Gary Snyder, Wild Mushroom Song, The Dial-A-Poem Poets: Biting off the Tongue of a Corpse, 1975
Václav Hálek, Xerocomus moravicus, Hudební atlas hub, 2003
Ella Jenkins, Pretty Trees Around the World, Rhythms Of Childhood, 1963
David Naegele, Temple in the Forest, Temple in the Forest, 1975
Ernst Karel, Mycological (Stereo Version), 2016
Maria Sabína, Mushroom Ceremony Of The Mazatec Indians Of Mexico, 1957
Pauline Anna Strom, Mushroom Trip, Trans​-​Millenia Music, 1983
Konkrete Canticle (Bob Cobbing), Hymn to the Sacred Mushroom, Experiments in Disintegrating Language, 1971
Mycologia, Tippler’s Bane (Coprinopsis atramentaria), Assorted Mushrooms of New England, 2019
Michael Stearns, Light in the Trees, The Storm, 2001
Joseph Shabason, Forest Run, Anne, 2018
Sylvia Plath, Mushrooms, 1959
Trees, Snails Lament, The Garden of Jane Delawney, 1970
Stevie Wonder, Trees, Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, 1979