Gary 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. The nine essays in Practice of the Wild reveal that " . . . before ecology became a household work, Snyder understood things about our civilization and economy that no one else was talking about, and he writes about them with great authority and a sinewy line." (The Nation) Snyder has gone on to become one of ...
Gary 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. The nine essays in Practice of the Wild reveal that " . . . before ecology became a household work, Snyder understood things about our civilization and economy that no one else was talking about, and he writes about them with great authority and a sinewy line." (The Nation) Snyder has gone on to become one of America’s cultural leaders, as his thought has ranged from political and spiritual matters to matters regarding the environment and the art of becoming native to this continent.
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.)
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.
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. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gary Snyder's deep hope-that someday we might all be native Americans, at home in our grand place-is the only hope we have. This is an exquisite book, and a hard one. Read it-and then live it, as best as you can.
What thoughtful beauty! How skillfully Gary Snyder interfuses the practical knowledge of an animal sense with story, language, and song. True teachers in America are now an endangered species. I learn so much from this good man's perception, humor, discipline, and love for this world. I am honored to praise this book.
A primer, an etiquette, a book of instruction, Gary Snyder's The Practice of the Wild is an exquisite, far-sighted articulation of what freedom, wildness, goodness, and grace mean, using the lessons of the planet to teach us how to live.
I have always found it difficult to imagine this century without the life and work of Gary Snyder. After reading this collection of essays, I now find it impossible.
Gary Snyder has published sixteen books of poetry and prose. His book Turtle Island won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1975. He has won numerous other awards, including the Bollingen Poetry Prize and the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Times. Since 1970 he has lived with his family in northern California in the watershed of the South Yuba River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.