View Gallery

Editions

Back on the Fire

Essays

List Price: $15.95

January 28, 2008 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25, 176 Pages | ISBN 9781593761639
Order Now From Indiebound

"This essay collection by Pulitzer Prize winner Snyder (A Place in Space) contains the latest thoughts of a great poet with a lifelong devotion to the world, humanity, and literature... Perfect reading for our troubled times; highly recommended." —Library Journal

Following The Practice of the Wild and A Place in Space, this collection of essays, now in paperback, 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 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.

GARY SNYDER is the author of sixteen collections of poetry and prose. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 and a finalist for the National Book Award in 1992 and 2005, he has been awarded the Bollinger Poetry Prize, the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2004 Japanese Masaoka Shiki International Haiku Grand Prize. He has lived in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada since 1970.

Praise

“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… It’s hard to argue with his conclusions…” —Publishers Weekly

“This essay collection by Pulitzer Prize winner Snyder (A Place in Space) contains the latest thoughts of a great poet with a lifelong devotion to the world, humanity, and literature. Snyder discusses his ideas of nature as process, energy exchange, and wilderness and how people should relate to the world, to deep history, and to each other from many different approaches… Snyder’s visit to his great-grandmother’s grave is especially wonderful, and the memorial statement to his wife on the last page is beautiful. Perfect reading for our troubled times; highly recommended.” —Library Journal

Related Products