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Axe Handles: Poems Paperback – January 28, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The title poem of this collection may be Snyder's strongest poem of the 1980s, and this is high praise. Incorporating Snyder's familiar and welcome themes of nature, family and eastern philosophy, it is a passage into a world of insights, small epiphanies, the rhythms of nature and culture, speech and sky, revealing themselves between these lines. Do yourself a favor and take a look at Axe Handles. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Axe Handles presents poems that reflect a fine balance between physical reality and inner insight. Snyder emphasizes natural cycles, sees the oneness of things rather than their separateness, observes directly without pretense or arrogance... His sense of the history of land and cultures and his ability to write as both the Worker and the Thinker create a fertile whole."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; Reprint edition (January 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593760574
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593760571
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Gary Snyder was actually the first poet I ever loved. In Axe Handles, we see him at his best: beautifully terse lines which ring true with a kind of serene clarity, complex and intuitive connections between everyday aspects of work, the land, animals, loved ones, the clarity of dreams, particular spaces at particular times (he'll often cite the location and the date from which the poem gets its inspiration) - all of it fitting together somehow, so that you go away with a wholesome feeling of the rustic and down to earth. I enjoy the way he mentally creates his world, and the markers he sets up to feel and experience the passage of time. If you are an urban dweller like me, you will soon realize the marked contrast between your world and Snyder's: his is situated alongside actual places, roads, trees, and is embodied by actual faces, stories, and hands on living. Read enough Snyder, and you will be pleasantly uprooted from your busy, day to day routine, and soon find yourself with fresh eyes in verdant land of symbols, seasons, person to person to land encounters with very little abstraction - it will be a sudden and long overdue breath of fresh air.
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Format: Paperback
The cycles of life, and the cycles within our lives and those which can be experienced and observed in the world around us link the poetry in Gary Snyder's Axe Handles. Attracted by the settings of Snyder's California poems, I've been further drawn to the images and experiences described in them. "Getting in the Wood," "Working on the '58 Willy's Pickup," "Look Back," the selections in "Little Songs for Gaia" take me to locations I've experienced physically. Intellectually what attracts me is the sense of cycles perceived by the reader, and the awareness of cycles by poem's persona. "Axe Handles", the title poem, describes such a cycle: the passing of knowledge from father to son, generation to generation. While my personal experiences with the poet's philosophical framework is not as immediate as my experience with the physical settings, I am becoming more aware of philosophies other than those in the framework in which I was raised. Even with this level of ignorance of the neophyte, I experience the thrill of growing awareness when I recognize the wholeness of life experience described in the poem. The poet makes me want to understand more - a gift to me through his words. Not much of a quest so far, but I've found Snyder's memoir of his travels through India, more of his poetry, and the courage to speak with others about Buddhism and other philosophies different from my own; a modest beginning, yet a stretch for me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My favorite Snyder book. This is a gift to a family friend who will love it.... Snyder is who Frost ought to have been... This book, like william stafford's poetry, is real and tangible and you can taste the subjects and drink them in and he helps you understand them... it is just a wonderful piece of work by one of america's great great poets.
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Format: Paperback
This is my favorite book of Gary Snyder's poetry, although I am a fan of his prose too. Every poem and even the order is solidly in his simple, profound style that does such a great job of observing the (often humorous) details of life and how they fit into a universe that makes just enough sense.
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By Pollo Poulet on January 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What can anyone say here about poet Gary Snyder? Intelligent, talented, insightful man. How to look at the world through a better lens.
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