The Gary Snyder Reader (1952-1998): Prose, Poetry and Translations

Gary Snyder, Author, Jim Dodge, Foreword by Counterpoint LLC $35 (617p) ISBN 978-1-887178-90-7
Beat poet, world traveler, forest-fire lookout, student of Chinese and Japanese, of Zen and Tao, ecological thinker and activist, renderer of folklore and myth, and (most recently) author of the celebrated book-length poem Mountains and Rivers Without End, Snyder has done and written more in one lifetime than most poets would in 10. This enormous volume gives admirers of any of Snyder's talents a chance to discover all the rest. Its 400-odd pages of prose include critical, speculative and political essays (a few previously uncollected). Arguments like ""Poetry and the Primitive"" share space with travel journals, letters to friends (most notably Philip Whalen) and with two long interviews. Suffused with commitments to ecology, and to Buddhist modes of life, Snyder's prose also reveals a knack for moment-by-moment description, as he spends weeks mountaineering, or in the outback, or in a Zen temple. Snyder's poetics emerged from his knowledge of East Asian work, and from the ferment of '50s California. His poems can be as spare and abstract as a pair of brushstrokes, or as detail-packed as his diaries. Here ""Huckleberries scatter through pine woods,/ Crowd along gullies, climb dusty cliffs""; there ""Deer trails slide under freeways... And deer bound through my hair""; and everywhere clarity and immediacy link thought to fact, treeline to verse-line. Forty pages present Snyder's poetic translations, which include Bai Juyi's famous (in China) ""Long Bitter Song."" Snyder calls human beings to a responsible life as creatures among creatures, part of interwoven, vulnerable systems. His poems and prose together hope ""to see what could be restored to the life today. A lot of it is/ simply in being aware of clouds and wind."" (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
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