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. 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.
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.
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The title poem of this collection may be Snyder's strongest poem of the 1980s, and this is high praise. Incorporating Snyder's familiar and welcome themes of nature, family and eastern philosophy, it is a passage into a world of insights, small epiphanies, the rhythms of nature and culture, speech and sky, revealing themselves between these lines. Do yourself a favor and take a look at Axe Handles.From the Back Cover:
Axe Handles is Gary Snyder's first collection of new poems since Turtle Island, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1974.
In Axe Handles Mr. Snyder reveals the roots of community in the family and explores the transmission of cultural values and knowledge. These are poems about language - language as the preeminent manifestation of culture.
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Book Description North Point Press, 1983. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110865471193