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Back on the Fire: Essays by Snyder, Gary

This photograph, taken by Stafford at Robinson Jeffers' Tor House in Carmel California, shows the poet Gary Snyder holding a card created by Stafford and featuring one of photographs taken in Alaska.

Back on the Fire: Essays by Gary Snyder | …

Back cover of Gary Snyder’s Turtle Island. Photograph by Frederic Brunke. (PS3569 .N88T8 1974. Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. Image by Petrina Jackson).

Back on the Fire: Essays by Gary Snyder

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Gary (Sherman) Snyder was born in San Francisco on May 8 in 1930 to the parents of Harold Alton and Lois ...A selective list of online literary criticism for San Francisco poet Gary Snyder, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer ...71 quotes from Gary Snyder: O, ah!

If enough Americans refused to buy a new car for one given year it would permanently alter theThe Practice of the Wild: Essays by Gary Snyder starting at Masa Uehara, Snyder’s wife, sits on a rock—pretty, pregnant, her hair covered with a bandanna, wearing a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. The green Yuba River swirls around her. Snyder is in the water, naked, hoisting a naked baby boy (their first son, Kai) over his shoulder. The photograph ran as a centerfold in Look in 1969, with a caption that read, “Author Gary Snyder and family, in the Sierras, look forward to a new Neolithic age that will combine the love of nature, sex and life based on mythical truths.”.99.

Back on the Fire: Essays by Gary Snyder | LibraryThing

Cover of Gary Snyder’s Riprap, 1959. (PS3569 .N88R49 1959. Marvin Tatum Collection of Contemporary Literature. Image by Petrina Jackson).

In 1959, Snyder published “Riprap,” a group of short, tough poems composed, he wrote, to the rhythms of physical labor, and informed by his work laying cobblestones on the granite slab of the Sierra as part of a trail crew. The language itself is stony, a monosyllabic, Anglo-Saxon workingman’s vocabulary that reverberates when struck: “Lay down these words / Before your mind like rocks. / placed solid, by hands / In choice of place, set / Before the body of the mind / in space and time: / Solidity of bark, leaf, or wall / riprap of things.”

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Although he steadily worked on the “small article” for years, part of his drive to finish it stemmed from Snyder’s life choices. After dharma bumming it with the literary Beats in the ’50s he spent nearly 10 years traveling throughout Japan and Asia. Snyder, a Buddhist practitioner raised in rural Washington, finally settled down in the wilds of California in 1971. Living off the grid, years passed by as life and other writing projects took priority. Snyder also realized that without access to university libraries for pertinent research, the project could not be properly completed.

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Time moved on, technology rewrote the boundaries of research, and, as Snyder details: “I looked over my material again and thought, ‘The information is still valid, still helpful. It has not been superseded, and I could make this into a useful small book for China and the world so that all of us would have a better idea of what China has gone through, historically.’

Gary Snyder: poems, essays, and short stories | Poeticous

“I don’t write to point fingers or criticize anyone in particular, but just to raise awareness of the way we have been living on earth for a long time,” Snyder says. “Of course, East Asia — China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan — have done a wonderful job considering everything else. I really admire East Asian culture enormously. If I am critical of it, it is a criticism that comes from appreciation and the hope that Japan, with its problems, will be able to do a little better than contemporary China right now.”

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In the middle of June, Snyder visited New York for a long weekend. With his younger son, Gen, who is thirty-eight, he went twice to the Met. They looked at rare pre-Columbian feather-working, Himalayan art, and samurai gear, and visited an exhibit on Chinese painting and calligraphy. “For one who knows the nature of the East Asian brush and what’s possible, it was somewhat elementary, but very useful for the usual viewer,” he wrote to me later.

Back on the Fire by Snyder, Gary

Many of the volunteers—Holly and Tanya among them—decided to stay on San Juan Ridge. Some pooled their resources and bought the adjacent property, and this community became Snyder’s testing ground for the ideas he was beginning to explore in print. In “Four Changes,” a widely circulated environmental treatise he published in 1969 and made available for free, he warned of the dangers of overpopulation, pollution, and consumption—particularly of fossil fuels. Some of his ideas seem implausible now—polyandrous marriages as a remedy for overpopulation, walking the Coast Range as a way to get from San Francisco to L.A.—while others are straight out of the post-Gore environmental consciousness: bring your own bags to the grocery store, use natural fertilizer, recycle, carpool. He says, “It is not particularly gratifying to have been right.”

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