The Real Work: Interviews and Talks, 1964-79

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9780811207614: The Real Work: Interviews and Talks, 1964-79

American poet Gary Snyder on poetics, tribalism, ecology, Zen Buddhism, meditation, the writing process, and more.

The Real Work is the second volume of Gary Snyder’s prose to be published by New Directions. Where his earlier Earth House Hold(1969) heralded the tribalism of the "coming revolution," the interviews in The Real Work focus on the living out of that process in a particular place and time––the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California in the 1970s. The talks and interviews collected here range over fifteen years (1964-79) and encompass styles as different as those of the Berkeley Barb and The New York Quarterly. A "poetics of process" characterizes these exchanges, but in the words of editor Mclean, their chief attraction is "good, plain talk with a man who has a lively and very subtle mind and a wide range of experience and knowledge."

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From the Back Cover:

The Real Work is the second volume of Gary Snyder's prose to be published by New Directions. Where his earlier 'Earth House Hold' (1969) heralded the tribalism of the 'coming revolution, ' the interviews in 'The Real Work' focus on the living out of that process in a particular place and time--the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California in the 1970s.

About the Author:

Scott McLean is from Escondido, California, and holds a Ph.D. in German Literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Born in 1930 in San Francisco, Gary Snyder grew up in the rural Pacific Northwest. He graduated from Reed College in 1951 with degrees in anthropology and literature, and later, 1953–56, studied Japanese and Chinese civilization at Berkeley, returning there to teach in the English Department. Throughout these years, Gary Snyder worked at various outdoor jobs―as a seaman, as a lookout in Mt. Baker National Forest, as a choker setter for a logging company, on a trail crew at Yosemite National Park. These experiences are integrally reflected in such works as Riprap and Myths and Texts. As he has remarked, "I’ve come to realize that the rhythms of my poems follow the rhythm of the physical work I’m doing and the life I’m leading at any given time―which makes the music in my head which creates the line." After participating in the San Francisco revival, the beginning of the beat poetry movement, with Ginsberg, Whalen, Rexroth and McClure, Snyder quietly went off to Japan in 1955 where he stayed for eighteen months, living in a Zen monastery. In 1958, he joined the tanker "Sappa Creek" and traveled around the world. In early 1959 he again returned to Japan where, apart from six months in India, he studied Kyoto under Oda Sesso Roshi, the Zen master and Head Abbot of Daitoku-Ji. He has spent further time (1966–67) in Japan on a Bollingen research grant. In 1969 he received a Guggenheim grant and toured the Southwestern United States visiting various Indian tribes.

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