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Axe Handles: Poems Paperback – 17 Mar 2005

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard, Div of Avalon Publishing Group Inc; Reprint edition (17 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593760574
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593760571
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,302,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The cycles of life, and the cycles within our lives and those which can be experienced and observed in the world around us link the poetry in Gary Snyder's Axe Handles. Attracted by the settings of Snyder's California poems, I've been further drawn to the images and experiences described in them. "Getting in the Wood," "Working on the '58 Willy's Pickup," "Look Back," the selections in "Little Songs for Gaia" take me to locations I've experienced physically. Intellectually what attracts me is the sense of cycles perceived by the reader, and the awareness of cycles by poem's persona. "Axe Handles", the title poem, describes such a cycle: the passing of knowledge from father to son, generation to generation. While my personal experiences with the poet's philosophical framework is not as immediate as my experience with the physical settings, I am becoming more aware of philosophies other than those in the framework in which I was raised. Even with this level of ignorance of the neophyte, I experience the thrill of growing awareness when I recognize the wholeness of life experience described in the poem. The poet makes me want to understand more - a gift to me through his words. Not much of a quest so far, but I've found Snyder's memoir of his travels through India, more of his poetry, and the courage to speak with others about Buddhism and other philosophies different from my own; a modest beginning, yet a stretch for me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love His Poetry 1 Aug. 2009
By Amazonian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Gary Snyder was actually the first poet I ever loved. In Axe Handles, we see him at his best: beautifully terse lines which ring true with a kind of serene clarity, complex and intuitive connections between everyday aspects of work, the land, animals, loved ones, the clarity of dreams, particular spaces at particular times (he'll often cite the location and the date from which the poem gets its inspiration) - all of it fitting together somehow, so that you go away with a wholesome feeling of the rustic and down to earth. I enjoy the way he mentally creates his world, and the markers he sets up to feel and experience the passage of time. If you are an urban dweller like me, you will soon realize the marked contrast between your world and Snyder's: his is situated alongside actual places, roads, trees, and is embodied by actual faces, stories, and hands on living. Read enough Snyder, and you will be pleasantly uprooted from your busy, day to day routine, and soon find yourself with fresh eyes in verdant land of symbols, seasons, person to person to land encounters with very little abstraction - it will be a sudden and long overdue breath of fresh air.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life's cycles: shaped by the axe, patterns at hand... 9 July 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The cycles of life, and the cycles within our lives and those which can be experienced and observed in the world around us link the poetry in Gary Snyder's Axe Handles. Attracted by the settings of Snyder's California poems, I've been further drawn to the images and experiences described in them. "Getting in the Wood," "Working on the '58 Willy's Pickup," "Look Back," the selections in "Little Songs for Gaia" take me to locations I've experienced physically. Intellectually what attracts me is the sense of cycles perceived by the reader, and the awareness of cycles by poem's persona. "Axe Handles", the title poem, describes such a cycle: the passing of knowledge from father to son, generation to generation. While my personal experiences with the poet's philosophical framework is not as immediate as my experience with the physical settings, I am becoming more aware of philosophies other than those in the framework in which I was raised. Even with this level of ignorance of the neophyte, I experience the thrill of growing awareness when I recognize the wholeness of life experience described in the poem. The poet makes me want to understand more - a gift to me through his words. Not much of a quest so far, but I've found Snyder's memoir of his travels through India, more of his poetry, and the courage to speak with others about Buddhism and other philosophies different from my own; a modest beginning, yet a stretch for me.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 27 Nov. 2012
By James Holland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is my favorite book of Gary Snyder's poetry, although I am a fan of his prose too. Every poem and even the order is solidly in his simple, profound style that does such a great job of observing the (often humorous) details of life and how they fit into a universe that makes just enough sense.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gary Snyder (japhy ryder for you kerouac fans) is the man! 9 Jan. 2014
By R. Phelps - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My favorite Snyder book. This is a gift to a family friend who will love it.... Snyder is who Frost ought to have been... This book, like william stafford's poetry, is real and tangible and you can taste the subjects and drink them in and he helps you understand them... it is just a wonderful piece of work by one of america's great great poets.
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius 29 Jan. 2014
By Pollo Poulet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What can anyone say here about poet Gary Snyder? Intelligent, talented, insightful man. How to look at the world through a better lens.
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