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Gary Snyder is a rarity in the United States: an immensely popular poet whose work is taken seriously by other poets.

Eliot Weinberger

Describing the title of his latest Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poetry and occasional prose pieces, Gary Snyder writes in his introductory note that Turtle Island is "the old new name for the continent, based on many creation myths of the people who have been here for millennia, and reapplied by some of them to ’North America’ in recent years." The nearly five dozen poems in the book range from the lucid, lyrical, almost mystical to the mytho-biotic, while a few are frankly political. All, however, share a common vision: a rediscovery of this land and the ways by which we might become natives of the place, ceasing to think and act (after all these centuries) as newcomers and invaders. A tentative cross-fertilization of ecological thought with Buddhist ideas of interpenetration is also suggested, reflecting the poet’s own life with his family and comrades in the foothills of the California Sierras.


Turtle Island

Poetry by Gary Snyder

published November 1st, 1974