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The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry, and Translations Hardcover – October 16, 2012
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From Library Journal
Snyder, winner of the 1975 Pulitzer prize for poetry for Turtle Island, has gathered 46 years of writing into one massive volume, drawing on previously published as well as unpublished material. He includes poetry, essays, letters, journals from his travels, meditations, and notes that reflect the philosophical and cultural evolution of his thoughtsAproducing a collection that entertains, educates, and provokes. Snyder shares his interest in Eastern literature and culture, his love for the environment, and his views on humanity and society. A chronology of Snyder's life is helpful in placing his cycle of literary events within the context of his life. This comprehensive body of work has captured his spirit and intent. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.ACynde Bloom Lahey, New Canaan Lib., CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Introducing this generous selection of the most appealing of the Beat writers, Jim Dodge says he changed his college major from fisheries management to "interdisciplinary studies, incorporating biology, English, and journalism" after reading Snyder's "Hay for the Horses." That early poem, from Riprap (1959), is Snyder's "Stopping By Woods" or "Richard Cory" --the one of his poems that, once read, is never forgotten, perhaps because, like Frost's and Robinson's chestnuts, it makes a statement about life's meaning, albeit a much more sanguine one than the great New Englanders' poems make. It appears in Dodge's remarks and again among the other poems in the collection. May it change other lives, though if one is resistant to poetry, there is twice as much of Snyder's prose here, concerned with nature, environmental consciousness, mythology, and, underlying it all, Buddhism, of which Snyder has long been a major practical Western exponent. Snyder is a man who lives healthily in the world, and any of his work is likely to change lives. Ray Olson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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.