Axe Handles: Poems Paperback – 17 Mar 2005
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"Axe Handles presents poems that reflect a fine balance between physical reality and inner insight. Snyder emphasizes natural cycles, sees the oneness of things rather than their separateness, observes directly without pretense or arrogance... His sense of the history of land and cultures and his ability to write as both the Worker and the Thinker create a fertile whole."
About the Author
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 asRiprapandMyths 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.