Cover image for The practice of the wild : essays
Title:
The practice of the wild : essays
Author:
Snyder, Gary.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : North Point Press, 1990.
Physical Description:
xii, 190 pages ; 21 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780865474536

9780865474543
Format :
Book

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PS3569.N88 P7 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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PS3569.N88 P7 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
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Summary

Summary

This collection of essays, first published in 1990, stands as the mature centerpiece of Snyder's work and thought. Snyder has been a major cultural force in America for five decades. Future readers will come to see this book as one of the central texts on wilderness and the interaction of nature and culture.


Summary

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and counter-culture hero offers a prescription for recovering our humanness by giving it away--by giving back to the earth more than we take. No index. Published by North Point Press, 850 Talbot Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94706. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)


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)


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 6

Booklist Review

Best known as the youngest of the major 1950s Beat poets, Snyder bids fair to be the wisest as well. Among the Beats, only Philip Whalen, who is a Zen monk, has embraced Buddhism as thoroughly, and none has pursued ecological and anthropological study as deeply. Snyder is vastly and respectably learned in the ways of beasts and forests and the religions and myths of non-Occidental cultures, especially those of the Pacific basin. He has achieved a universality of vision about how humans, beasts, plants, and the other creations on this planet interrelate and interdepend that is astonishing and humbling. He writes of his vision with utter clarity and grace and a conviviality perhaps surprising in a man who has lived so much in the mountains. He has come to see that, in fact, we all live in the wild, first within our own bodies with their myriad purposeful but involuntary actions, and that a worshipful, stewardly, yet self-distinguishing relationship with the rest of the wild is humanity's optimum life-style. For Americans, there is no better primer on this way of life, which is of course also the Way of Taoism, than Snyder's essays. They constitute the finest wisdom (and also ecological) literature of our time as they describe the how-to's and the necessity of being both "on the path" and "off the trail," that is, of being in the Way and engaging in "the practice of the wild," which he says "is also where--paradoxically--we do our best work." Bibliography. (Simultaneously with the publication of The Practice of the Wild, North Point is reprinting Snyder's influential volume of 1950s poetry, Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems.) --Ray Olson


Publisher's Weekly Review

Essayist and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Snyder ( Turtle Island ) offers nine sensitive and thoughtful essays blending his personal Buddhist beliefs, respect for wildlife and the land, and fascination with language and mythic tradition into a ``meditation on what it means to be human.'' In ``The Place, the Region, and the Commons,'' he relates the old English concept of the common to publicly held U.S. forests, expressing concern that Americans, who lack an intimate familiarity with the land, ``are not actually living here intellectually, imaginatively, or morally.'' ``Tawny Grammar,'' referring to a Spanish phrase for knowledge of nature, examines this knowledge through a school curriculum in northwest Alaska that combines traditional native values and marketable skills. ``Ancient Forests of the Far West'' contrasts Snyder's experience as a logger in the 1950s, when the industry still exercised restraint, with the current depletion of American woodlands. And ``The Woman Who Married a Bear'' comments on relations between bears and humans through a Native American myth about a girl who is carried off by a grizzly that assumes the form of a man. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

More people should read this book than will. Snyder is, of course, an important writer, a Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry, and a spokesperson for the wilderness. Here in spare, eloquent prose, he presents a series of essays that probe the essence of humanity, nature, and their symbiosis. Sometimes Thoreauvian, sometimes way out past Thoreau, he argues, ``Nature is not a place to visit, it is home . . . .'' ``I want to talk about place as an experience,'' he proposes, and he really does. This is an important book for anyone interested in the ethical interrelationships of things, places, and people, and it is a book that is not just read but taken in. It is lamentable that many readers will spend their time taking in much lesser writers. Essential for all serious collections.-- Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Best known as the youngest of the major 1950s Beat poets, Snyder bids fair to be the wisest as well. Among the Beats, only Philip Whalen, who is a Zen monk, has embraced Buddhism as thoroughly, and none has pursued ecological and anthropological study as deeply. Snyder is vastly and respectably learned in the ways of beasts and forests and the religions and myths of non-Occidental cultures, especially those of the Pacific basin. He has achieved a universality of vision about how humans, beasts, plants, and the other creations on this planet interrelate and interdepend that is astonishing and humbling. He writes of his vision with utter clarity and grace and a conviviality perhaps surprising in a man who has lived so much in the mountains. He has come to see that, in fact, we all live in the wild, first within our own bodies with their myriad purposeful but involuntary actions, and that a worshipful, stewardly, yet self-distinguishing relationship with the rest of the wild is humanity's optimum life-style. For Americans, there is no better primer on this way of life, which is of course also the Way of Taoism, than Snyder's essays. They constitute the finest wisdom (and also ecological) literature of our time as they describe the how-to's and the necessity of being both "on the path" and "off the trail," that is, of being in the Way and engaging in "the practice of the wild," which he says "is also where--paradoxically--we do our best work." Bibliography. (Simultaneously with the publication of The Practice of the Wild, North Point is reprinting Snyder's influential volume of 1950s poetry, Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems.) --Ray Olson


Publisher's Weekly Review

Essayist and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Snyder ( Turtle Island ) offers nine sensitive and thoughtful essays blending his personal Buddhist beliefs, respect for wildlife and the land, and fascination with language and mythic tradition into a ``meditation on what it means to be human.'' In ``The Place, the Region, and the Commons,'' he relates the old English concept of the common to publicly held U.S. forests, expressing concern that Americans, who lack an intimate familiarity with the land, ``are not actually living here intellectually, imaginatively, or morally.'' ``Tawny Grammar,'' referring to a Spanish phrase for knowledge of nature, examines this knowledge through a school curriculum in northwest Alaska that combines traditional native values and marketable skills. ``Ancient Forests of the Far West'' contrasts Snyder's experience as a logger in the 1950s, when the industry still exercised restraint, with the current depletion of American woodlands. And ``The Woman Who Married a Bear'' comments on relations between bears and humans through a Native American myth about a girl who is carried off by a grizzly that assumes the form of a man. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

More people should read this book than will. Snyder is, of course, an important writer, a Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry, and a spokesperson for the wilderness. Here in spare, eloquent prose, he presents a series of essays that probe the essence of humanity, nature, and their symbiosis. Sometimes Thoreauvian, sometimes way out past Thoreau, he argues, ``Nature is not a place to visit, it is home . . . .'' ``I want to talk about place as an experience,'' he proposes, and he really does. This is an important book for anyone interested in the ethical interrelationships of things, places, and people, and it is a book that is not just read but taken in. It is lamentable that many readers will spend their time taking in much lesser writers. Essential for all serious collections.-- Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

The Etiquette of Freedomp. 3
The Compact
The Words Nature, Wild, and Wilderness
Wildness
The World Is Watching
Back Home
The Place, the Region, and the Commonsp. 27
The World is Places
Understanding the Commons
Bioregional Perspectives
Finding "Nisenan County"
Tawny Grammarp. 52
The Same Old Song and Dance
The Kuuvangmiut and the Humanities
Nature's Writing
Mother Leopards
Good, Wild, Sacredp. 84
Weeding Out the Wild
Waterholes
Shrines
True Nature
Blue Mountains Constantly Walkingp. 104
Fudo and Kannon
This
Homeless
Larger Than a Wolf, Smaller Than an Elk
Decomposed
Walking on Water
Ancient Forests of the Far Westp. 124
After the Clearcut
At Work in the Woods
Evergreen
Excursus: Sailor Meadow, Sierra Nevada
Us Yokels
On the Path, Off the Trailp. 154
Work in Place of Place
Freedom at Work
The Woman Who Married a Bearp. 166
The Story
On "The Woman Who Married a Bear"
Maria Johns and the Telling of This Story
Arkadia
At the Bear Dance
Survival and Sacramentp. 187
An End to Birth
Cultured or Crabbed
Grace
Bibliographyp. 199
By Way of Thanksp. 203
The Etiquette of Freedomp. 3
The Compact
The Words Nature, Wild, and Wilderness
Wildness
The World Is Watching
Back Home
The Place, the Region, and the Commonsp. 27
The World is Places
Understanding the Commons
Bioregional Perspectives
Finding "Nisenan County"
Tawny Grammarp. 52
The Same Old Song and Dance
The Kuuvangmiut and the Humanities
Nature's Writing
Mother Leopards
Good, Wild, Sacredp. 84
Weeding Out the Wild
Waterholes
Shrines
True Nature
Blue Mountains Constantly Walkingp. 104
Fudo and Kannon
This
Homeless
Larger Than a Wolf, Smaller Than an Elk
Decomposed
Walking on Water
Ancient Forests of the Far Westp. 124
After the Clearcut
At Work in the Woods
Evergreen
Excursus: Sailor Meadow, Sierra Nevada
Us Yokels
On the Path, Off the Trailp. 154
Work in Place of Place
Freedom at Work
The Woman Who Married a Bearp. 166
The Story
On "The Woman Who Married a Bear"
Maria Johns and the Telling of This Story
Arkadia
At the Bear Dance
Survival and Sacramentp. 187
An End to Birth
Cultured or Crabbed
Grace
Bibliographyp. 199
By Way of Thanksp. 203