Gary Snyder Back on the Fire: Essays

ISBN 13: 9781593761639

Back on the Fire: Essays

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9781593761639: Back on the Fire: Essays
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This collection of essays by Gary Snyder, now in paperback, blazes with insight. In his most autobiographical writing to date, Snyder employs fire as a metaphor for the crucial moment when deeply held viewpoints yield to new experiences, and our spirits and minds broaden and mature. Snyder here writes and riffs on a wide range of topics, from our sense of place and a need to review forestry practices, to the writing life and Eastern thought. Surveying the current wisdom that fires are in some cases necessary for ecosystems of the wild, he contemplates the evolution of his view on the practice, while exploring its larger repercussions on our perceptions of nature and the great landscapes of the West. These pieces include recollections of his boyhood, his involvement with the literary community of the Bay Area, his travels to Japan, as well as his thoughts on American culture today. All maintain Snyder's reputation as an intellect to be reckoned with, while often revealing him at his most emotionally vulnerable. The final impression is holistic: We perceive not a collection of essays, but a cohesive presentation of Snyder's life and work expressed in his characteristically straightforward prose.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Poet and essayist Snyder, a Pulitzer and National Book Award winner, has been a committed environmentalist and student of East Asian thought for decades. For almost as long, he has lived in the Sierra Nevada, where he saw the changes in attitudes toward preserving forests. Any reader unfamiliar with these details of Snyder's life and outlook will be well acquainted with them by the end of this new collection of essays since he returns to them with numbing repetition, down to the very phrases used. While Snyder's goal is admirable—to alert readers to the need for a more balanced attitude toward land and forest preservation—he would have been more effective had he reworked his thoughts into a single essay. There are some lovely nuggets, such as a section about the Maidu Coyote myth and an elegiac piece about Allen Ginsberg's death. But most of this slim volume is dedicated to evaluating prescribed burns as a way of saving California's ecological environment. It's hard to argue with his conclusions—that we must learn to respect nature and live within it rather than just exploit it—but Snyder's writing betrays a level of self-satisfaction with his own enlightened viewpoint that may put readers off from thinking seriously about the subject. (Feb.)
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From Booklist:

Poet, Buddhist, man of the land, and scholar, Snyder uses breath as his lines' measure in poetry and prose as he celebrates nature's beauty and considers humankind's impact on the good earth. Following his most recent poetry collection, Danger on Peaks (2004), Snyder now presents remarkably personal and powerful essays. Noting that "the whole world is in the trust of humans now," Snyder looks to fire as an element that can teach us about destruction and regeneration. As he writes of his beloved Sierra Nevada home ground as "a fire-adapted ecosystem," Snyder asserts the importance of being "nature literate," and of recognizing that all living entities have a right to life. We are the "problem species," Snyder avers, yet we are capable of astonishing acts of creation. Writing in praise of cave art and haiku, he defines the role artists play in the "active defense of nature." Remembering lost loved ones--his wife and poets Allen Ginsberg and Philip Whelan--Snyder, sage and incisive, gazes into the flames and ponders "the challenge of living wisely for the long run." Donna Seaman
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Book Description COUNTERPOINT, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. First Trade Paper Edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. This collection of essays by Gary Snyder, now in paperback, blazes with insight. In his most autobiographical writing to date, Snyder employs fire as a metaphor for the crucial moment when deeply held viewpoints yield to new experiences, and our spirits and minds broaden and mature. Snyder here writes and riffs on a wide range of topics, from our sense of place and a need to review forestry practices, to the writing life and Eastern thought. Surveying the current wisdom that fires are in some cases necessary for ecosystems of the wild, he contemplates the evolution of his view on the practice, while exploring its larger repercussions on our perceptions of nature and the great landscapes of the West. These pieces include recollections of his boyhood, his involvement with the literary community of the Bay Area, his travels to Japan, as well as his thoughts on American culture today. All maintain Snyder s reputation as an intellect to be reckoned with, while often revealing him at his most emotionally vulnerable. The final impression is holistic: We perceive not a collection of essays, but a cohesive presentation of Snyder s life and work expressed in his characteristically straightforward prose. Seller Inventory # AAS9781593761639

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Book Description COUNTERPOINT, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. First Trade Paper Edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. This collection of essays by Gary Snyder, now in paperback, blazes with insight. In his most autobiographical writing to date, Snyder employs fire as a metaphor for the crucial moment when deeply held viewpoints yield to new experiences, and our spirits and minds broaden and mature. Snyder here writes and riffs on a wide range of topics, from our sense of place and a need to review forestry practices, to the writing life and Eastern thought. Surveying the current wisdom that fires are in some cases necessary for ecosystems of the wild, he contemplates the evolution of his view on the practice, while exploring its larger repercussions on our perceptions of nature and the great landscapes of the West. These pieces include recollections of his boyhood, his involvement with the literary community of the Bay Area, his travels to Japan, as well as his thoughts on American culture today. All maintain Snyder s reputation as an intellect to be reckoned with, while often revealing him at his most emotionally vulnerable. The final impression is holistic: We perceive not a collection of essays, but a cohesive presentation of Snyder s life and work expressed in his characteristically straightforward prose. Seller Inventory # AAS9781593761639

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