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on November 22, 2010
I really enjoyed reading Part One of this book. The conversational exchanges between Gary Snyder and Jim Harrison were wonderful. Many times I stopped and re-read portions over and over again - sometimes 4 or 5 times. I wish that the entire book had been one long conversation between the men. However, after Part One, the rest of the book is somewhat repetitive. Parts Two and Three consist of the transcript/outtakes of the included DVD - much of which had already been covered in Part One.

My suggestion is this: Watch the DVD first. The scenery is beyond beautiful, and hearing these men speak, and hearing Snyder read his own poetry, is far more remarkable than just reading the written word. Then, go back and read the book. It will give you time to meditate a bit on some of the things written there.
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on December 2, 2010
I read all of Gary Snyder's poetry and even lived a few years near his place in Northern California, and met him once. I also read all of Jim Harrison's work, though never had the chance to talk face to face like I did with Gary. This book comes as close as it gets to unedited insights into two lives well-lived. Zen, literature, the 1960s and a growing Earth-based consciousness owes a debt to these two.
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on May 18, 2011
It was very interesting to listen these two literary weavers of the wild experience as they reflected on "nature" and our human relation to it. I have always been attracted to philosophies that examine the ways we make sense of our experience on this planet, and I also love Gary Snyder's poems, so I looked forward to watching this meeting of the minds. Ironically, as a film about nature there was almost nothing natural about it; I could not escape from the fact that they were being filmed throughout and were deliberately discoursing for the benefit of the camera.

Despite this, their conversation was filled with ideas and reflections not commonly heard in our national discourse. It has made me newly aware of our narcisssism as a species and our lack of respect for the natural environment. This film serves very well as a source for additional discussion about that subject. A printed transcript has been thoughtfully included.
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on January 26, 2016
I found the most meaningful element in both the book and in the DVD that of the human contrast between Snyder and Harrison. I can imagine Harrison having sex and enjoying it immensely, sloppy, sensual, erotic, but can't imagine the same for Snyder. I find Harrison, both in listening to him on the DVD and in his writings (novels and poetry) as a fully human, vulnerable, creature. I find Snyder, in contrast, as stiff and self-absorbed in both listening to him and reading his poetry. Even the visual scene of the two of them together, the contrast in clothing (Snyder dressed in standard form; Harrison dressed as if he just got up from the nap). The contrast hit me hard. I prefer the Harrison Zen to the Snyder Zen. I hope someone does a documentary on Jim Harrison, a life fully lived.
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on July 20, 2011
This is a really interesting book on so many levels. I have always been captivated by Mr. Snyder ever since DHARMA BUMS. I have read his poetry and his essays. Mr. Harrison, not so much. On one hand it's amazing that their discussions on nature are transmitted to the reader/observer via DVD or an order through Amazon. On the other hand I had the impression I was watching another reality show. Conversations directed to a camera crew. A hop, skip and jump to THE REAL HOUSEWIVES. Mr. Harrison seemed uncomfortable or tongue-tied. Truthfully, all I can recall of his conversation were yeah, truly and uh-huh. Mr. Snyder, on the other hand, boggles the mind with his intelligence and questing nature. As long as there are minds like his in the universe all is not lost. Read, enjoy, learn.
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on May 30, 2015
It was very enjoyable to listen to all these intelligent and informed men speak on varied topics. I guess I would refer to it as some philosophy with "color". I didn't know about Gary Snyder; I'm very impressed. I've known Jim for years from when he lived in upper Michigan. Lovely family.
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on November 15, 2012
Though they are not equally blessed with the gift of gab on camera these two master storytellers create a fascinating journey here that I found more than worthy of fascination and gratitude. The DVD is worth the price alone, but the pages allow one to chew more thoroughly and savor the tastes of the words.
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on February 22, 2014
As far as movies and documentaries go, it is not academy award cinema. But it is very well done and the topic and subjects - to me - make this a must have video. Jim Harrison and Gary Snyder are icons of genius in the literary world.
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on March 12, 2015
The DVD “The Practice of the Wild” and the accompanying book The Etiquette of Freedom provide an ideal introduction to the work of Gary Snyder. In this documentary Snyder, still physically and intellectually vigorous in his eighties, comes across as the same engaging and insightful personality that his readers have met in his poems and essays these past fifty years. John Healey and author Jim Harrison produced this beautiful film. Rancho Piedra Blanca along California’s central coast provides the scenic backdrop for these familiar but insightful conversations between Snyder and Jim Harrison as they walk along the ridge or sit around a table after dinner. The documentary is about thirty minutes long and contains some wonderful black and white film footage from an earlier 1960s profile. We see the younger Snyder in Zen garments riding his motorcycle, presumably in San Francisco, and then earnestly reading some of the his poetry to the camera. There are the standard “extras” with interviews with the producers and director. The book, edited by Paul Ebenkamp, contains a transcript of the film and another hour of outtakes, comments by some of Snyder’s friends and acquaintances, and a small sampling of his poems. There is a nice selection of photographs from Snyder’s life, a bibliography and reading list, and a wonderful essay entitled “Grace”, which is one of the best essays on the spirituality of food that you will ever read. Together the DVD and book provide a delightful path into Snyder’s work. I would recommend moving on from here to his essay collection The Practice of the Wild(reissued with a new preface by Snyder in 2010 and having the same title as the DVD) and The Gary Snyder Reader (1999).
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on January 16, 2012
I was nicely surprised by this book that not only has some great Snyder poems, but,pics, text and a DVD. Also a last glimpse of Jim Harrison's mind before it's bodily essence transformed
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