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Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems 50 Anv Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1582436364
ISBN-10: 1582436363
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Editorial Reviews

Review


“The master of lucid meditation . . . Readers are fortunate to have what Snyder wants to pass on.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Long ago staked his claim as one of America's finest poets . . . [An] unswerving integrity [is] present throughout the development of Snyder's poetic sensibility.”
Boston Herald

“As early as the 1950s, before ecology became a household word, Snyder understood things about our civilization and economy that no one else was talking about, and he wrote about them with great authority and a sinewy line.” —Richard Tillinghast, The Nation
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Born in 1930 in San Francisco, Gary Snyder grew up in the rural Pacific Northwest. He graduated from Reed College in 1951 with degrees in anthropology and literature, and later, 1953 56, studied Japanese and Chinese civilization at Berkeley, returning there to teach in the English Department. Throughout these years, Gary Snyder worked at various outdoor jobs as a seaman, as a lookout in Mt. Baker National Forest, as a choker setter for a logging company, on a trail crew at Yosemite National Park. These experiences are integrally reflected in such works asRiprapandMyths and Texts. As he has remarked, "I ve come to realize that the rhythms of my poems follow the rhythm of the physical work I m doing and the life I m leading at any given time which makes the music in my head which creates the line." After participating in the San Francisco revival, the beginning of the beat poetry movement, with Ginsberg, Whalen, Rexroth and McClure, Snyder quietly went off to Japan in 1955 where he stayed for eighteen months, living in a Zen monastery. In 1958, he joined the tanker "Sappa Creek" and traveled around the world. In early 1959 he again returned to Japan where, apart from six months in India, he studied Kyoto under Oda Sesso Roshi, the Zen master and Head Abbot of Daitoku-Ji. He has spent further time (1966 67) in Japan on a Bollingen research grant. In 1969 he received a Guggenheim grant and toured the Southwestern United States visiting various Indian tribes.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; 50 Anv edition (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582436363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582436364
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Amidst the poetry of the Sixties, Gary Snyder's early poems stood out as something very special, and are still very special. In contrast to the obscure and convoluted writings of an assortment of neurasthenic, super-sophisticated, and compulsive scribblers, types so totally and utterly wrapped up in themselves that they completely overlooked that insignificant thing hovering outside their window (ordinary folks call it the universe), and whose work goes unread because it is largely unreadable, Snyder's work came as a revelation.
Here was a poet who was very, very different - a poet who, far from being totally wrapped up in himself, was instead wrapped up in the universe. He appeals to us because, being himself wholly in touch with reality, he helps us get back in touch with reality ourselves. Ego is put firmly in its place, opening up a space in which the myriad things can come forward and announce themselves.
The secret of how Snyder was able to do this, of how he was able to bring us, not yet another of those obscure, tortured and anguished sensibilities who were and still are so thick on the ground, but who brought instead a sane and wholesome vision of the world, is all there in the very first poem of RIPRAP, 'Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout' :
"Down valley a smoke haze / Three days heat, after five days rain / Pitch glows on the fir-cones / Across rocks and meadows / Swarms of new flies. // I cannot remember things I once read / A few friends, but they are in cities. / Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup / Looking down for miles / Through high still air" (p.9).
Where did Snyder learn how to do this? The answer is that it could only have been in China.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This book passes the test of time because of its taut poetry and insight into the link between Sndyer's environment in the Pacific Northwest and his inner landscape. The second part of the book is priceless. Snyder's Zen practice and skill as a writer and linguist make him eminently qualified to translate the words of the reclusive poet Han-Shan, whose poems ring true today. I have read other translations of Han-Shan but Snyder's is the best. Its paradoxes move us in our modern times just as they must have in early China.
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Format: Paperback
Riprap lets us see the world with Snyder's vision back in
the days when Kerouac was writing about him in the Dharma
Bums. The clarity, straightforward diction, and simple
lyricism that have continued to characterize his poetry are
all here in these early poems from the fifties. Astounding
visual quality. Life in the mountains, in Japan, on the
high seas.

Cold Mountain Poems are translations of Han Shan, Chinese
Zen poet. Han Shan stands with John of the Cross in his
ability to illuminate the spiritual path through lyric
imagery. Snyder's crystalline translations reveal Han
Shan to us face to face, today, not some old exotic hermit
but a vital presence.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great work. These poems are pieces of Snyder's heart. The man is a great poet and this little book (only 2/3 of it are his poems)
will make you feel good. The other part of the book is composed of poems from Han Chan (Cold Mountain).
Snyder translated them himself and a great job he did. You'll get the full feeling of what Han was saying when he wrote them.
No one else I've read has done anything with these poems that comes close to what Snyder has done with his translations. Too bad he didn't translate them all. I'd love to have a copy if he ever decided to do so.
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Format: Hardcover
As circumstances would have it I recently have been going through a reading, or in most cases a re-reading, of many of the classics of the 1950's "beat" literary scene as a result of getting caught up in marking the 40th anniversary of the death of Jack Kerouac. Thus, I have re-read Kerouac's classic "On The Road", Allen Ginsberg's great modernist poem, "Howl", and the madman of them all, William Burroughs' "Naked Lunch". And along the way, after a 40 year hiatus, Kerouac's "Dharma Bums".

That is where the connection to this recent release of poetry by one of the key West Coast figures in the "beat' movement, Gary Snyder and an early American devotee to Zen Buddhism , comes in full force. "Dharma Bums" is a novelistic treatment about Jack Kerouac's bout with Zen enlightenment, with Buddha and with his own inner demons. And central to guiding old Jack through the Zen experience was the aficionado, Gary Snyder, posing under the name Japhy Ryder. I noted in a review of that novel that while I could appreciate the struggle to find one's inner self that dominated that novel I was more in tune with Dean Moriarty's more adrenaline- formed material world adventure quest than Ryder's.

That characterization, however, never encapsulated Gary Snyder's poetry that, while not as to my liking as Allen Ginsberg's rants against the post-industrial world , nevertheless was superior to his when comparisons between their poetic understanding of Buddhism were in play. Snyder was, and I presume off of the reading here still is, serious about the Zen of existence. Ginsberg was all over the place, and I think what really influenced came from the cabalistic tradition in Jewish life, despite his very OM-saturated period in the 1960s. Read the "Han Shan" poems in this collection first, and then Snyder's and you will see what I mean.
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