Axe Handles: Poems

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In Axe Handles Mr. Snyder reveals the roots of community in the family and explores the transmission of cultural values and knowledge.
"In making the handle of an axe by cutting wood with an axe the model is indeed near at hand." In exploring this axiom of Lu Ji’s, Gary Snyder continues:

I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

This is a collection of discovery, of insight, and of vision. These poems see the roots of community in the family, and the roots of culture and government in the community.
Formally, the 71 poems in Axe Handles range from lyrics to riddles to narratives. The collection is divided into three parts, called "Loops," "Little Songs for Gaia," and "Nets," each containing poems of disciplined clarity. Gary Snyder knows well the great power of silence in a poem, silence that allows the mind space enough to discover the magic of song.

A collection of 71 poems, the first to be published following Snyder's Pulitzer Prize-winning Turtle Island.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times Book Review
Axe Handles presents poems that reflect a fine balance between physical reality and inner insight. Snyder emphasizes natural cycles, sees the oneness of things rather than their separateness, observes directly without pretense or arrogance ... His sense of the history of land and cultures and his ability to write as both the Worker and the Thinker create a fertile whole.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593760571
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 114
  • Sales rank: 628,777
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Hogan is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Interview, Small Press, and elsewhere. Lee Hudson, a writer and researcher, was the founder and first director of the New York City Mayor's Office for the Lesbian and Gay Community. Both live in New York.
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Table of Contents

Axe handles 5
For/from Lew 7
River in the valley 8
Among 10
On top 11
Berry territory 12
Bows to drouth 14
The cool around the fire 16
Changing diapers 18
Beating the average 19
Painting the North San Juan School 21
All in the family 23
Fence posts 24
So old 26
Look back 28
Soy sauce 30
Beetle trails 32
Walking through Myoshin-ji 34
Fishing catching nothing 35
At the Ibaru family tomb 36
Strategic air command 37
Eastward across Texas 38
Working on the '58 Willys pickup 39
Getting in the wood 41
True night 43
Walked two days in snow 63
Geese gone beyond 65
Three deer one coyote running in the snow 67
White sticky 68
Old pond 70
24:IV:40075, 3:30 PM 71
I:VI:40077 72
The grand entry 77
Under the sign of Toki's 79
Talking late with the governor about the budget 81
"He shot arrows ..." 83
Arts councils 84
"What have I learned ..." 85
A maul for Bill and Cindy's wedding 89
Alaska 90
Dillingham, Alaska, the Willow Tree Bar 91
Removing the plate of the pump 93
Glamor 94
Uluru wild fig song 95
Money goes upstream 101
Breasts 103
Old rotting tree trunk down 105
For a fifty-year-old woman in Stockholm 107
Old woman nature 108
The canyon wren 110
For all 113
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