Gary Snyder

Born in 1930 in San Francisco, Gary Snyder grew up in the rural Pacific Northwest. He graduated from Reed College in 1951 with degrees in anthropology and literature, and later, 1953–56, studied Japanese and Chinese civilization at Berkeley, returning there to teach in the English Department. Throughout these years, Gary Snyder worked at various outdoor jobs—as a seaman, as a lookout in Mt. Baker National Forest, as a choker setter for a logging company, on a trail crew at Yosemite National Park. These experiences are integrally reflected in such works as Riprap andMyths and Texts. As he has remarked, “I’ve come to realize that the rhythms of my poems follow the rhythm of the physical work I’m doing and the life I’m leading at any given time—which makes the music in my head which creates the line.” After participating in the San Francisco revival, the beginning of the beat poetry movement, with Ginsberg, Whalen, Rexroth and McClure, Snyder quietly went off to Japan in 1955 where he stayed for eighteen months, living in a Zen monastery. In 1958, he joined the tanker “Sappa Creek” and traveled around the world. In early 1959 he again returned to Japan where, apart from six months in India, he studied Kyoto under Oda Sesso Roshi, the Zen master and Head Abbot of Daitoku-Ji. He has spent further time (1966–67) in Japan on a Bollingen research grant. In 1969 he received a Guggenheim grant and toured the Southwestern United States visiting various Indian tribes.

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Poetry by Gary Snyder

Beginning with the publication of The Back Country in 1968, Gary Snyder’s long-cherished association with New Directions continued through the publication of his poetry books: the Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling Turtle Island (1974), and Myths & Texts (1978); as well as his prose works, Earth House Hold (1969) and The Real Work (1980), all essential titles on the New Directions list. More recently, Snyder’s No Nature: New and Selected Poems, a finalist for the National Book Award, was published in 1993 by Pantheon, and his long-anticipated epic poem Mountains and Rivers without End was published by Counterpoint, 1997.…
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The Real Work: Interviews And Talks

Nonfiction by Gary Snyder

The Real Work is the second volume of Gary Snyder’s prose to be published by New Directions. Where his earlier Earth House Hold (1969) heralded the tribalism of the “coming revolution,” the interviews in The Real Work focus on the living out of that process in a particular place and time––the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California in the 1970s. The talks and interviews collected here range over fifteen years (1964-79) and encompass styles as different as those of the Berkeley Barb and The New York Quarterly.…
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Myths And Texts

Poetry by Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder’s second collection, Myths & Texts, was originally published in 1960 by Totem Press in association with Corinth Books. It has been reissued by New Directions in a completely revised format, with a new introduction by the author. The three sequences in the books––”Logging,” “Hunting,” “Burning”––show the remarkable cohesiveness in Snyder’s writings over the years, for we find the poet absorbed, then as now, with Buddhist and Amerindian lore and other interconnections East and West, but above all with the primeval devotion to the land and work.…
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Turtle Island

Fiction by Gary Snyder

Describing the title of his 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.…
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The Back Country

Poetry by Gary Snyder

“A reaffirmation of a back country of the spirit” (Kirkus Reviews), this collection is made up of four sections: “Far West” — poems of the Western mountain country where, as a young man, Gary Snyder worked as a logger and forest ranger; “Far East” — poems written between 1956 and 1964 in Japan where he studied Zen at the monastery in Kyoto; “Kali” — poems inspired by a visit to India and his reading of Indian religious texts, particularly those of Shivaism and Tibetan Buddhism; and “Back” — poems done on his return to this country in 1964 which look again at our West with the eyes of India and Japan.…
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Regarding Wave

Poetry by Gary Snyder

“Wild nature as the ultimate ground of human affairs”––the beautiful, precarious balance among forces and species forms a unifying theme for the new poems in this collection. The title, Regarding Wave, reflects “a half-buried series of word origins dating back through the Indo-European language: intersections of energy, woman, song and ’Gone Beyond Wisdom.’” Central to the work is a cycle of songs for Snyder’s wife, Masa, and their first son, Kai.…
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Earth House Hold

Poetry by Gary Snyder

Both Pound and Williams have shown how a good poet can revitalize prose style. Earth House Hold (a play on the root meanings of “ecology”) drawn from Gary Snyder’s essays and journals, may prove a landmark for the new generation. “As a poet,” Snyder tells us, “I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the late Paleolithic; the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth; the love and Ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.…
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The New Directions Anthology Of Classical Chinese Poetry

Fiction

Translated from the Classical Chinese by David Hinton Kenneth Rexroth Ezra Pound Gary Snyder William Carlos Williams

Edited by Eliot Weinberger

A rich compendium of translations, The New Directions Anthology of Chinese Poetry is the first collection to look at Chinese poetry through its enormous influence on American poetry. Beginning with Ezra Pound’s Cathay (1915), the anthology includes translations by three other major U.S. poets––William Carlos Williams, Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder––and an important poet-translator-scholar, David Hinton, all of whom have long been associated with New Directions. It is one of the first general anthologies ever to consider the process of translation by presenting different versions of the same poem by multiple translators, as well as examples of the translators rewriting themselves.…
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Beat poet Jack Spicer nicknamed Snyder “The Boy Scout,” and he should be on the short list of poets you want with you when get lost in the woods.

—Sean Elder, Newsweek

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

—Eliot Weinberger

Snyder is on the side of the gods.

The New York Times Book Review

An accomplished technician who has learned from the poetry of several languages and who has developed a sure and flexible style capable of handling any material he wishes.

—Kenneth Rexroth
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