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The Practice of the Wild
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December 25, 2010
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
While Snyder and Harrison aren't usually associated with one another,they are apparently friends for some time.I'm not sure how this film was put together,the outdoor scenes taking place in a location neither lives in, but the casual conversation and the shared values are interesting to witness.It is not directly taken from Snyder's book of the same title,but his is always for me an interesting mind.I wonder if he sees in Harrison a kind of incarnation of some crazy Han Shan Chinese poet;he sort of resembles such a character,rather disheveled and wildeyed.But the exterior(as Snyder teases him at one point) hides a mind besotted with wonder and thought.I enjoyed their company,though it isn't a definitive look at either.Just two men in the world who appreciate the practice of the wild mind,the wilderness within and without us, the "joyful interpenetration' as Snyder once wrote
March 20, 2011
Sometimes I think that the art of conversation, wide in scope and deep in insights, is in decline among the youth. I was pleased to watch these two senior literary chaps, who contrast physically and in style, discuss society, the state of the planet, deep ecology, Asian culture, history of the Beats -- particularly Ginsberg -- and living away from the din of cities in the Sierras. The reading of poems that often hit home was an important addition, as it is always worthy to hear the poet's own phrasings and rhythm, as listening to a composer conducting her own symphonies. The documentary weaves its segments, painting rather than photographing its subject. I have some of Snyder's books and am a Zen practitioner myself; thus, I was already sympathetic to the poet and his worldview. Others, perhaps, may focus on his environmental concerns and lifestyle or on biographical and historical matters. Snyder's categorical distinctions of "nature", "wild", and "wilderness" are important. Snyder himself, like Pete Seeger, seem indefatigable, suggesting that the vigors of mountain living and maintaing intellectual curiosity are conducive to health. There is much to enjoy in this film. Only under an hour in length, you will wish that it would be longer. The title comes from a 1990 collection of Snyder's essays.
September 27, 2010
All lovers of nature, Zen, and Gary Snyder's poetry must see this documentary. It provides insights of Snyder's life and crative work from Dharma Bums to Turtle Island to date. The role of chain-smoking, obese, and inarticulate (yeah, I know, he's written some TREMENDOUS poetry & prose--but he doesn't come off well in this film) Jim Harrison is a sort of vulgar Yin to Snyder's spiritual Yang. Strange but it works.