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The Great Clod

Notes and Memoirs on Nature and History in East Asia

List Price: $25.00

May 10, 2016 | Hardcover | 5.7 x 8.3, 208 pages | ISBN 9781619025691
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From the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet of Turtle Island a meditative, scholarly memoir of Asia–“a book . . . not quite like any other but trademark Snyder” (Kirkus Reviews).

Over the course of his singular career, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, essayist, environmental activist, and Beat icon Gary Snyder has derived wisdom and inspiration from his study of Eastern philosophies, cultures, and art. Now, with this collection of eight essays, Snyder offers “a deceptively small book enfolding a lifetime’s worth of study” (Kirkus Reviews).

The Great Clod is the culmination of a project that Snyder began in 1969 with the essay ‘Summer in Hokkaido, ‘ first published in Coevolution Quarterly. In it and the subsequent entries, most of which are published here for the first time, Snyder weaves together elements of travel memoir and poetic insight with scholarly meditations on civilization’s relationship to the environment. The result is a seamless exploration of Asia that ranges from Hokkaido to Kyoto, from the Ainu to the Mongols, from the landscapes of China to the backcountry of Japan, and from the temples of Daitokoji to the Yellow River Valley.

Here you will find “a series of essays on Asia’s ecological history, combining culture and politics in a way that is, unsurprisingly, poetic and graceful” (Japan Times).

About Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder is the author of sixteen collections of poetry and prose. Since 1970 he has lived in the watershed of the South Yuba River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 and a finalist for the National Book Award in 1992, he has been awarded the Bollingen Poetry Prize and the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award.

"His newest book of prose, The Great Clod is a series of essays on Asia's ecological history, combining culture and politics in a way that is, unsurprisingly, poetic and graceful. The Great Clod may be slim but its scope is immense."--The Japan Times

"Classical poetry, calligraphy, the best source of temple incense--all figure in the text, which has something of the feel of a valediction. Elegant and thoughtful, with much to read between the lines in commentary on a long life's work. Students and admirers of Snyder will be enchanted and intrigued." --Kirkus

"Each essay furnishes a graceful, very conversational (sentence fragments and all), but keenly well-informed enticement to pursue its subject further. This kind of friendly, even compassionate, mode of instruction comes, of course, from the American arguably most responsible for spreading appreciation of East Asia among North Americans. If this little book should prove Snyder's last word on East Asia, it is wonderfully enough." --Booklist

"Snyder is an elder statesman of the natural world and the tribal unions of poetry. He has a body of work as original as predecessors Williams Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens."--The Bloomsbury Review

"His greatest strength--a quiet and profound elegance, an ability to write a simple phrase that seems to have been echoing through human consciousness for three or four thousand years."--Lewis MacAdams, California Magazine

"This poet's great gift has always been perfect visual clarity...and, needless to say, derives from Snyder's vision in the larger sense."--Paul Berman, Village Voice

"What thoughtful beauty! How skillfully Gary Snyder interfuses the practical knowledge of an animal sense with story, language, and song. True teachers in American are now an endangered species. I learn so much from this good man's perception, humor, discipline, and love for this world."--James Hillman

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