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Gary Snyder and the Pacific Rim: Creating Countercultural Community (Contemp North American Poetry) Hardcover – April 15, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


“Through a detailed study of Gary Snyder's roots/routes to Asia, Timothy Gray has written an original, historically informed, solidly researched, and finely speculative book on the cultural, ecological, and libidinal geopolitics of the Pacific Rim. Moving beyond the psycho-biography of a single-author study, Gray's text will help to decode the U.S. global imaginary of Asia in interesting new ways.”---Rob Wilson

“In this superb book, Timothy Gray offers a capacious survey of Gary Snyder's contributions to the new American poetry of the 1950s and 1960s as well as to the imagined communities produced through that poetry. By looking at Snyder's relationship to the Pacific Rim, Gray provides a critical regionalist view that contests more entrepreneurial versions.”---Michael Davidson

About the Author

Timothy Gray is an assistant professor of English at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.

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Product Details

  • Series: Contemp North American Poetry
  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press (April 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877459762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877459767
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Must be tough writing a book about a living figure, particularly a living legend like Gary Snyder, just about the last of the West Coast New American poets from the Beat Generation. (Thank goodness we have McClure and Ferlinghetti in the dugout.) But Gray lets very little of the embarrassment or anxiety that would otherwise underlie a project like his penetrate his book. In that, he's assisted by the apparently open and generous nature of his subject--who's even shown naked on the cover of the book, as if to allegorize a spiritual or aethetic nakedness, vulnerability, or humility, take your pick. But in addition, Gray isn't trying to find out what sort of guy Gary Snyder is. (So that simplifies things.) Instead, Gray's focus is somewhat larger and involves our understanding of the so-called Pacific Rim.

Where'd this concept come from? It is a cartographer's dream, that people are tracing with one finger the shoreline of an entire ocean from continent to continent, then watching the lands cross pollinate themselves over the water, like migrant birds bringing seeds of marrocain to Easter Island. Gray deplores recent attempts to delimit the concept of the Rim to 80s and 90s business propaganda--open markets, cheap foreign labor; the godfathers of this concept then would be Nixon and Kissinger and their drive to open China to western business in the 1970s. Gray urges us to look further back, to two earlier initiatives, if we would understand the murky geopolitics of the Pacific Rim and what it means to our nation's soul and ambition. One such initiative came in the wake of the Pacific-Panama Exposition, the San Francisco World's Fair of 1939, which widened the scope of SF cultural interests while of course glamorizing or exoticizing Asian imput.
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