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The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry, and Translations Paperback – April 4, 2000
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"The spirit contained in this collection is an everlasting tug in the right direction." -- The Boston Book Review
About the Author
Gary Snyder has published sixteen books of poetry and prose. His book Turtle Island won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1975. Since 1970 he has lived with his family in the watershed of the South Yuba River, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California.
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Snyder says, "My place on earth is where I know most of the birds and the trees and where I know what the climate will be right now, roughly, what should be going on there on that spot on earth right now, and where I have spent enough time to know it intimately and personally." By this definition he considers his "place" from Big Sur in California up the Pacific coast through British Columbia, through Alaska onto the Aleutian chain and down into the Japanese islands and on through Taiwan. He says, "One thing to do is not to move. To stay put. Now staying put doesn't mean don't travel. But it means have a place and get involved in what can be done in that place. Because without that we aren't going to have a representative democracy that works in America. We're in an oligarchy right now, not a democracy. Part of the reason that it slid into oligarchy is that nobody stays anywhere long enough to take responsibility for a local community and for a place."
When asked about meditation, one of his comments is: "Some of the beneficial effects are you get bored with some of your own tapes and quit playing them back to yourself." He goes on to an interesting reflection on language and its relationship to thought. Then he brings up the powerful Buddhist point that we must "find the ceremonial, the almost sacramental quality of the moves of daily life" (changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, washing dishes, etc.) because "the goal of living is not to consider work work, but to consider it your life and your play."
This would be a fabulous introduction to Gary's work in a time I remember well, but many never really saw - even if they were there. I chose the Kindle version (although I love to hold a book) because it can go with me to provide companionship on the train, in the doctor's waiting room, in the park under a tree. You don't have to begin at the beginning - you can just drop in for a visit anytime, anywhere. You will always be entertained and life will always be elucidated.