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Mountains and Rivers Without End: Poem Paperback – March 3, 2008


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Mountains and Rivers Without End: Poem + The Practice of the Wild: With a New Preface by the Author + Turtle Island (A New Directions Book)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; 2nd edition (March 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582434077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582434070
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A magnificent achievement, this epic poem belies the common take that Snyder's poetic career is notable mainly in the past tense and is refracted by the works of others. Without doubt, Snyder's exploration of nature, Zen Buddhism and his travels through unexplored corners of American society influenced the Beat writers of the 1950s and early 1960s, and some of his early works (Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems, 1965, and Turtle Island, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975) are masterpieces. This new, vital work sums up stylistic and thematic concerns by uniting 39 poems written between 1956 and 1996 (many published here for the first time) into a seamless whole that, like a modern Leaves of Grass, combines fascination with the varied particulars of the way people live with awe at the majesty of nature. Each of four sections is organized around a familiar Snyder focus: the demands made on people by nature and time ("The road that's followed goes forever;/ in half a minute crossed and left behind"); observation of the terrain he occupies ("Slash of calligraphy of freeways of cars") and various American landscapes ("trucks on the freeways,/ Kenworth, Peterbilt, Mack,/ rumble diesel depths,/ like boulders bumping in an outwash glacial river"); and subtle tributes to those who have survived the last 40 years ("At the end of the ice age/ we are the bears, we are the ravens,/ We are the salmon/ in the gravel/ At the end of an ice age"). A concluding essay, "The Making of Mountain and Rivers Without End," serves as an intellectual mini-autobiography and a gloss on some of the Eastern influences on the poem. This is a major work by a venerable master of post-WWII American poetry.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Afloat
Arctic Midnight Twilight Cool Horth Breeze With Low Clouds
The Bear Mother
The Black-tailed Hare
The Blue Sky
Boat Of A Billion Years
Bubbs Creek Haircut
The Canyon Wren
The Circumambulation Of Mt. Tamalpais
Covers The Ground
Cross-legg'd
The Dance
Earrings Dangling And Miles Of Desert
Earth Verse
The Elwha River
Endless Streams And Mountains
Finding The Space In The Heart
The Flowing
Haida Gwai North Coast, Haikoon Beach, Hiellen River Raven Croaks
The Hump Backed Flute Player
Instructions
Jackrabbit
Journeys
Ma
Macaques In The Sky
The Market
The Mountain Spirit
New Moon Tongue
Night Highway 99
Night Song Of The Los Angeles Basin
An Offering For Tara
Old Bones
Old Woodrat's Stinky House
Raven's Beak River At The End
Three Worlds, Three Realms, Six Roads
Under The Hills Near The Morava River
Walking The New York Bedrock Alive In The Sea Of Information
We Wash Our Bowls In This Water
With This Flesh
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder® --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
Read it and get wiser.
David B. Mcgrath
Many times it just sounds like: "Aren't I clever to come up with this deep-meaning foreign phrase that you don't understand".
Curtis L. Wilbur
A monument to a lifetime of his work.
W. Roberts

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 1997
Format: Paperback
It's not often one gets the chance to hold in hand the words of a living master.
At a Library of Congress reading on October 24, 1996, Gary Snyder sounded out the Buddha-nature of his work by reading from "Mountains and Rivers Without End." I was familiar with him as one of the Dharma bums of the fifties, and later -- in the late seventies and early eighties -- as a "deep ecologist." I had read some of his poems and essays, and thought I had "got it." But I hadn't, really.
Not until I heard him read.

That night I bought "Mountains and Rivers Without End" mainly because of the perennial philosophy Snyder paints in "The Blue Sky." In truth, I also felt a sense of longing: longing for the names of old friends he calls upon, names that I (as a Buddhist) miss hearing in my busy monkey-life (Shakyamuni Buddha, Kama, Ramana Maharshi); longing for the sounds of Pali words in Sanskrit chants; longing for the promise of the Blue Land, the Pure Land, the Land of Healing.

I realized later that I bought "Mountains and Rivers Without End" to try and take home some of the intense emotional involvement that the reading invoked. But this work, years in the making, can be appreciated on levels from the purely cerebral to the blatantly emotional. So even though the immediacy of hearing the words has faded, I continue to peel the verses like onions, discovering layers upon layers of truthful artistry that impart new immediacies with every reading.

Dan Everman
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written over forty years, MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS WITHOUT END is poet Gary Snyder's highest achievment. Here he has presented a perception of the world that has taken four decades of experience to put into words. The collection moves chronologically from Snyder's glimpse in the 50's of a Japanese scroll that gave the book its name, though his wanderings in the American West, and into senescene.

Decades of travel have exposure Snyder to so much of our planet, and this experience forms a major part of MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS WITHOUT END. Mixing ecological perspective with Buddhist metaphysics, these poems are a powerful description of Man's relationship with the planet. Snyder is supremely aware of how attached mankind is to the Earth, and how its ever-surrounding landscape influences peoples.

The final poem "Finding the Space in the Heart" is a moving retrospective of Gary Snyder's forty years as a writer, from his Beat poet days in the 1950's to the older man that he is now, using elements of Buddhism's Prajnaparamita-sutra, the so called "Heart Sutra."

While Snyder's poems sometimes do not succeed due to clumsy meter, a lacking that makes me give this work only four stars, they often move the reader with their sincerity and signifance. MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS WITHOUT END is certainly worth a read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 1997
Format: Hardcover
It's not often one gets the chance to hold in hand the words of a living master.
At a Library of Congress reading on October 24, 1996, Gary Snyder sounded out the Buddha-nature of his work by reading from "Mountains and Rivers Without End." I was familiar with him as one of the Dharma bums of the fifties, and later -- in the late seventies and early eighties -- as a "deep ecologist." I had read some of his poems and essays, and thought I had "got it." But I hadn't, really.
Not until I heard him read.

That night I bought "Mountains and Rivers Without End" mainly because of the perennial philosophy Snyder paints in "The Blue Sky." In truth, I also felt a sense of longing: longing for the names of old friends he calls upon, names that I (as a Buddhist) miss hearing in my busy monkey-life (Shakyamuni Buddha, Kama, Ramana Maharshi); longing for the sounds of Pali words in Sanskrit chants; longing for the promise of the Blue Land, the Pure Land, the Land of Healing.

I realized later that I bought "Mountains and Rivers Without End" to try and take home some of the intense emotional involvement that the reading invoked. But this work, years in the making, can be appreciated on levels from the purely cerebral to the blatantly emotional. So even though the immediacy of hearing the words has faded, I continue to peel the verses like onions, discovering layers upon layers of truthful artistry that impart new immediacies with every reading.

Dan Everman
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 1997
Format: Hardcover
At last poet-guru Gary Snyder has released his 40 year work in MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS WITHOUT END. Begun in 1956, the poems here bring together Snyder's Buddhist sensibility and take us into the future with a hopeful vision of humankind and the earth. Snyder describes it as, "This poem, which I have come to think of as a sort of sutra--an expanded poetic, philosophic and mythic narrative of the female Buddha Tarra."Snyder's short explanation links his with with that of the Chinese and Japanese lanscape scroll artists, with the No Theatre of shamanistic speakers, with the art of the haiku poem. These are fine and forceful works that ground us. As Alan Watts has said of a good haiku, they are more like nature itself than a poem about nature. We should be thankful for this American classic; Snyder gives us the core of his being as it links to all of life. It's a long road we travel and one that brings us home to ourselves
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