Cover image for Danger on peaks : poems
Danger on peaks : poems
Snyder, Gary, 1930-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, DC : Shoemaker & Hoard ; [Berkeley, Calif.?] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [2004]

Physical Description:
112 pages ; 22 cm
The mountain -- The climb -- Atomic dawn -- Some fate -- 1980 : letting go -- Blast zone -- To Ghost Lake -- Pearly everlasting -- Enjoy the day -- Brief years -- Glacier ghosts -- What to tell, still -- Strong spirit -- Sharing an oyster with the captain -- Summer of '97 -- Really the real -- Ankle-deep in ashes -- Winter almond -- Mariano Vallejo's library -- Waiting for a ride -- Doctor Coyote when he had a problem -- Claws/cause -- How many? -- Loads on the road -- Carwash time -- To all the girls whose ears I pierced back then -- She knew all about art -- Coffee, market, blossoms -- In the Santa Clarita Valley -- Almost okay now -- Sus -- Day's driving done -- Snow flies, burn brush, shut down -- Icy mountains constantly walking -- For Philip Zenshin Whalen -- For Carole -- Steady, they say -- Gray squirrels -- One day in late summer -- Spilling the wind -- California laurel -- Baking bread -- One empty bus -- No shadow -- Shandel -- Night herons -- The Acropolis back when -- The emu -- The Hie Shrine and the "One-Tree" district -- Cormorants -- To go -- One thousand cranes -- For Anthea Corinne Snyder Lowry -- The great bell of the Gion -- After bamiyan -- Loose on earth -- Falling from a height, holding hands -- Senso-ji -- Envoy.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3569.N88 D36 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In his first collection of new poems since Axe Handles (1983), Gary Snyder includes fifty-five new poems and prose poems. As longtime readers will recognize, this collection is unique in Snyder's oeuvre, finding the poet experimenting with a wide variety of styles, including an extended foray in the Japanese form haibun, "making it an American form," as the poet remarks. Two sections of poems exploring "intimate immediate life, gossip and insight" are some of the poet's most personal work.

Danger on Peaks begins with the poet's first climb of Mount St. Helens on August 13, 1945, and his learning on the morning after his descent about the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Again the poet visits Mount St. Helens in 2000 to view the blast site of the 1980 eruption. Then follow poems for the Buddhas of Bamiyan Valley and the World Trade Towers. More than a mere gathering of unrelated poems, Danger on Peaks is a constructed work, where every part contributes to the whole.

Author Notes

Gary Snyder was born in San Francisco, California on May 8, 1930. He received a B.A. in anthropology at Reed College in 1951. Between working as a logger, a trail-crew member, and a seaman on a Pacific tanker, he was associated with Beat poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso and studied in a Zen monastery in Japan.

He wrote numerous books of poetry and prose including Danger on Peaks, Mountains and Rivers Without End, No Nature: New and Selected Poems, The Practice of the Wild, Regarding Wave, and Myths and Texts. He received an American Book Award for Axe Handles and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Turtle Island. He has also received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Bollingen Prize, the Bess Hokin Prize, the Levinson Prize from Poetry, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the Shelley Memorial Award. In 2012, he received the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement by the Academy of American Poets.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Snyder's first all-new collection since Axe Handles 0 (1983) takes its title from the last line of a little poem about first seeing Carole, now his wife. It reveals one appetite flaring, ever so subtly, in the mundane precincts of another: he's dishing out a meal, she's receiving it, and he glimpses "her lithe leg," obviously "trained by . . . danger on peaks." This sort of thing happens all the time, of course, but how often is it this well captured? In these poems of his sixties and early seventies, Snyder often works such magic, in poems as compact as those of the Japanese masters he has long studied and in prose-and-verse pieces as crystalline as those in the famous travel books of Basho. From the opening prose-and-verse section on several climbs of Mount St. Helens, through short poems of observation and longer ones on daily life, to more prose-and-verse pieces on journeys near and far, Snyder seems more accepting than ever before. His 1960s eco-Marxist scolding is gone, and he's the wiser for it. --Ray Olson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his first gathering of new poetry since the 1996 book-length poem Mountains and Rivers Without End, Snyder seeks a kind of fraught peace, which he cannot sustain; the book begins and ends in upheaval. A mostly prose sequence recalls the recent history of Mount Saint Helens, the Washington State volcano whose eruption in 1980 has been recently (and for now, more softly) reprised. Snyder's speaker remembers climbing it decades ago and sees how flora and fauna are already returning there now: "Who wouldn't take the chance to climb a snowpeak and get the long view?" Landscape, geology, botany and ecology; the poet's Buddhist outlook and its consequences for ethics, and the small pleasures of daily existence, inform the understated, short poems making up most of the volume. Snyder excels in adapting Japanese forms, such as haibun, to American usage. Many of his short poems recall the people-friends, lovers, a daughter-for whom Snyder cares or has cared, an attractive surprise in a poet known more for his rapport with nonhuman nature. Last come five short poems prompted by world events, including the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in spring 2001 and the terrorist attacks later that year: Snyder reminds us that humans are animals too, "beings, living or not," "inside or outside of time." (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

While Snyder's first collection of new poetry in over 20 years is long overdue, it's unlikely this book will garner any prizes. As Snyder himself admits, "most of my work/ such as it is/ is done." This, then, is a book about the past-celebrating and mourning at the same time. A portrait of the poet chopping a fallen tree so his 87-year-old mother can get her car out is one of his most memorable poems, but the majority are bleaker and less tender. The world, as Snyder depicted it so beautifully yet sparsely in his almost Utopian early work, has not lived up to its promise, yet his trademark koanlike style has not shifted to accommodate this landscape of Denny's, McDonald's, and laser printers. Visiting Mount St. Helen's after the volcano erupted, he recalls hiking there years ago, but the voice in the prose poem meditation remains static, giving little indication of a changed, hostile landscape. The Taliban's destruction of ancient Buddhas provokes deeper thought than the Taliban's role in the World Trade Center disaster. Despite these reservations, any new work by Snyder is a crucial library purchase.-Rochelle Ratner, formerly with SoHo Weekly News, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

I. Mount St. Helens
The Mountainp. 5
The Climbp. 7
Atomic Dawnp. 9
Some Fatep. 10
1980: Letting Gop. 11
Blast Zonep. 13
To Ghost Lakep. 16
Pearly Everlastingp. 19
Enjoy the Dayp. 21
II. Yet Older Matters
Brief Yearsp. 25
Glacier Ghostsp. 35
III. Daily Life
What to Tell, Stillp. 41
Strong Spiritp. 43
Sharing an Oyster With the Captainp. 45
Summer of '97p. 47
Really the Realp. 50
Ankle-deep in Ashesp. 52
Winter Almondp. 53
Mariano Vallejo's Libraryp. 55
Waiting for a Ridep. 56
IV. Steady, They Say
Doctor Coyote When He Had a Problemp. 59
Claws/Causep. 60
How Many?p. 61
Loads on the Roadp. 62
Carwash Timep. 63
To All the Girls Whose Ears I Pierced Back Thenp. 64
She Knew All About Artp. 65
Coffee, Market, Blossomsp. 66
In the Santa Clarita Valleyp. 67
Almost Okay Nowp. 68
Susp. 69
Day's Driving Donep. 70
Snow Flies, Burn Brush, Shut Downp. 71
Icy Mountains Constantly Walkingp. 72
For Philip Zenshin Whalenp. 73
For Carolep. 74
Steady, They Sayp. 75
V. Dust in the Wind
Gray Squirrelsp. 79
One Day in Late Summerp. 80
Spilling the Windp. 81
California Laurelp. 82
Baking Breadp. 83
One Empty Busp. 84
No Shadowp. 85
Shandelp. 86
Night Heronsp. 87
The Acropolis Back Whenp. 88
The Emup. 89
The Hie Shrine and the "One-Tree" Districtp. 91
Cormorantsp. 92
To Gop. 93
One Thousand Cranesp. 94
For Anthea Corinne Snyder Lowryp. 96
The Great Bell of the Gionp. 97
VI. After Bamiyan
After Bamiyanp. 101
Loose on Earthp. 103
Falling from a Height, Holding Handsp. 104
Senso-jip. 105
Envoyp. 107
Notesp. 109
Thanksp. 111
Acknowledgmentsp. 112