Gary Snyder: The Practice of the Wild. {Video}

Via on May 10, 2012

For the Children

The rising hills, the slopes,

of statistics

lie before us.

the steep climb

of everything, going up,

up, as we all

go down.

In the next century

or the one beyond that,

they say,

are valleys, pastures,

we can meet there in peace

if we make it.

To climb these coming crests

one word to you, to

you and your children:

stay together

learn the flowers

go light.

~ Gary Snyder

Poet Gary Snyder celebrates his birthday this week.

Snyder’s poems birth a wildness resting on calm. His words offer a lovely emptiness into which natural appreciation of wilderness can unfurl. There is a comfortableness, a calling, a wetness to his work.

Whole Earth Films (view trailer above) has created a documentary, The Practice of the Wild, about Gary’s work, reflected through a discussion with novelist Jim Harrison.  Whole Earth Films says of the documentary:

Poet and naturalist Gary Snyder has been at the center of cultural changes which transformed the modern world. Along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, he was a founding author of the Beat generation. He helped bring Zen Buddhism into the America scene, was an active participant in the anti-war movement, and served as literary inspiration to seekers of freedom, mindfulness and higher human potential.

Snyder won a Pulitzer Prize in 1975. His great epic poem: Mountains and Rivers Without End was completed in 1996. He has been called the poet laureate of Deep Ecology.

Since a childhood in the Cascades, he has been the voice of a new environmental awareness, which never loses sight of direct wild experience—local people, animals, plants, watersheds and food sources.

The film follows Snyder and novelist Jim Harrison (Dalva, Legends of the Fall), as the two old friends wander along trails of the central California coast — in a remote area untouched for centuries. They debate the pros and cons of everything from Google to Zen koans. The discussions are punctuated by archival materials and commentaries from Snyder’s literary contemporaries, friends, and intimates.

For more on Gary’s work I direct you here:

Gary Snyder on Ecology {Video}. Note: a must-see.

Letters of Alan Ginsberg and Gary Snyder

The Paris Review Interview

Department of English at UC Davis

Poetry Foundation on Gary Snyder

 

And this, from Gary in an interview with Shambhala Sun:

“Care for the environment is like noblesse oblige,” he maintains. “You don’t do it because it has to be done. You do it because it’s beautiful. That’s the bodhisattva spirit. The bodhisattva is not anxious to do good, or feels obligation or anything like that. In Jodo-shin Buddhism, which my wife was raised in, the bodhisattva just says, ‘I picked up the tab for everybody. Goodnight folks…’ “

 

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About Jill Barth

Jill Barth, elephant journal green team leader, lives in Illinois with her husband and kids. She reminds you to breathe. Jill's writing can be found on her blog, Small Things Honored.

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2 Responses to “Gary Snyder: The Practice of the Wild. {Video}”

  1. [...] bless with kindness and compassion, sat perfect with my sights on the world. It opened the path to Gary Snyder, Chogyam Trungpa, Han Shan, Li Bai and host of other “Zen lunatics” who, in their [...]

  2. Linda Lewis Linda V. Lewis says:

    Yes, I too have always loved Gary Snyder's poems + those of his Zen side kick Philip Whalen! And of course the poetry of Ginsberg. I think all 3 of them wrote their finest in the '50's + '60's as East was just encountering West. Thanks for sharing!

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