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Tamalpais Walking: Poetry, History, and Prints Hardcover – May 1, 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Poet Snyder refers to Mount Tamalpais as œSan Francisco's backyard wilderness. But Killion's brief history makes clear that the location has been an integral part of San Francisco's outdoor culture since the 19th century. Although œTamalpais is a Miwok Indian word, what role the mountain played in their traditions has been lost. Place names on the mountain commemorate settlers who hiked its slopes, and the genteel poets and writers of the post–Civil War generations created most of the œIndian legends associated with it. But it was with Kenneth Rexroth and the burgeoning San Francisco scene of the 1930s that Tamalpais found its place in American literature, and later Jack Kerouac placed scenes in The Dharma Bums on the small mountain. Snyder is Tamalpais's greatest poet, and his essay recalling three circumambulatory hikes on the mountain is a highlight of the book. Poems by Rexroth, Snyder and Lew Welch are interspersed throughout, and multiblock color prints by Killion (who collaborated with Snyder on The High Sierra of California) pay homage both to Tamalpais and the Japanese masters of ukiyo-e, who perfected the complicated technique. (May)
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Review

''When the great Japanese artist Hokusai shifted the focus of ukiyo-e painting from the 'floating world' of actors and concubines to the natural majesty of Mt. Fuji, he achieved the flowering of his genius. The natural majesty of the mountain and his skill had become completely fused, producing enchanting results. Something similar occurs in the luminous collaboration of poet Gary Snyder and artist Tom Killion in their new book, Tamalpais Walking. The union of extraordinary graphics and extraordinary language celebrates the lore, history, and geology of the 'serpentine dragon's tooth,' on whose flank I have lived, on and off, for forty years. Mt. Tamalpais must have dreamed these two fine artists as a means of affording itself suitable honors. This book is a triumph of subject and form. Don't miss it.''--Peter Coyote, actor/writer

''Tamalpais Walking...is a joy to hold and behold.''--San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

''The large and gorgeous coffee-table book should claim a prominent spot not only in local living rooms but on bookshelves, classrooms, under holiday trees and anywhere those who have hiked, biked, and loved the mountain might be found.''--Pacific Sun

''Tamalpais Walking...is a tribute to the tradition [of circumabulation] and to the local mountain as both graphic and poetic muse.'' --San Francisco Magazine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Heyday; First Printing edition (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159714097X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597140973
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Henry Berry on June 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The woodcut and letterpress artist Killion has a Japanese touch to his artwork. The modest graphic style and the coloring remind one of Japanese woodcuts, as does the nature subject matter. Killion's prints though concern Mount Tamalpais north of San Francisco. It's a nature area popular with hikers and campers and also arousing spiritual feelings. Gary Snyder's poetry goes along with Killion's prints concerning the Mount Tamalpais notable throughout the region for physical and spiritual reasons. Snyder's poems with haiku-like lines mirror physical aspects of nature and spirituality in connection to nature. Beyond his poetry, Snyder embraced an Asian, Zen-like spirituality and lived close to nature. He spent much time hiking about Tamalpais, and he spent time in Japan to experience Asian spirituality directly.

Besides the art work, Killian writes fetching essays for the book. Snyder contributes journal-like parts going back to the 1950s and '60s. But the two are not the only ones found. Quotes from the writings of Kenneth Rexroth, Jack Kerouac, Ina Coolbright and anecdotes on such authors representing the fusion of Asian spirituality and American openness of spirit and attraction to nature are interwoven into the text.

There are 14 full-page color woodcuts of Killion's including the frontispiece. Others are of varying sizes in full-color or shades of dark colors. Coming upon the woodcuts of all sizes throughout the pages, one is drawn to them again and again perusing their details of coastline, clouds, craggy earth, and slopes. One wants to notice Killion's technical skill and spots of originality in this art, and also enjoy again and again the aesthetic and spiritual freshets afforded by them. At the end are three pages of color woodcuts four to a page.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author, along with poet Gary Snyder have put together the most beautiful collection of woodcuts and poetry/history of Marin county's Mt. Tam ever. You will be transported by this treasure.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How can this combination of people and place be anything but magnificent.
" If I ever have to get away from it all, and in the words of the Chinese poet, "wash all the wrongs of life from my pores", there is simply nothing better than to climb out on a rock, and sit for hours with nothing in sight but the sea and sky ".
Ordered this along with new Dylan "Together through Life" and Cohen "Live in London" CD's. Was tempted to spring for Super Shipper but the anticipation is going to be a wnderful part of the process.
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This book is amazing. The combined talents of writer and artist result in a book you just don't want to put down. It's not a coffee table dust collector. It's a history of Marin county and its majestic mountain presented in a most engaging and spellbinding way. If you love San Francisco bay area history, this is a must.
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Beautiful book, excellent reproduction. The essays are great, too. I moved away from San Francisco 7 years ago and this book is like a window to the Bay Area. Mt. Tam is prominent in almost every horizon along with Mt. Diablo in the East Bay. Killion has a great eye and every composition sings the praises of Tam. Inspired by the woodblock prints of Hokusai and Hiroshige, Killion brings this craft to a new audience.
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Format: Hardcover
Over seventy views of Mt. Tam are presented in a combination of history, prints and poetry - a fine literary collaboration by the authors of THE HIGH SIERRA OF CALIFORNIA. It's rich in essays and art and offers any Northern California library or resident a 'must have' survey of Mt. Tamalpais' importance in California history in general and Marin County life in particular. A top-notch, outstanding survey.
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