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Back on the Fire: Essays

Snyder, Gary

154 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1593761376 / ISBN 13: 9781593761370
Published by Shoemaker & Hoard, 2007
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Outrider Book Gallery (Vashon, WA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 167 p. Audience: General/trade. Essays by Snyder. Always a pleasure to encounter his views on the page. A terrific read. Very good in very good dust jacket. Clean, lightly read book. First edition. First Edition. First Printing. Bookseller Inventory # Alibris.00010000287

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Back on the Fire: Essays

Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Following The Practice of the Wild, this new collection of essays by Gary Snyder blazes with insight. In his most autobiographical writing to date, these essays employ 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 explorations of southwestern European Paleolithic cave art to his own personal poetic history with haiku; from reminiscences of youthful West Coast logging and trail crew days to talks given in Paris and Tokyo on art and archetypes. He honors poets of his generation, like Philip Whalen and Allen Ginsberg, and meditates on art, labor, and the making of families, houses, and homesteads.
This is a work that requires us to make friends with impermanence and error — to make "wildfire" a partner — and to keep burning the hazardous, the excess, and even one's own dreams and attainments, over and over again. 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.

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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