The Back Country
- Author:Gary Snyder
- Publisher:New Directions
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- Sales Rank:627,021
- Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
- Number Of Items:1
- Edition:Second printing
- Shipping Weight (lbs):0.4
- Dimensions (in):7.9 x 5.2 x 0.4
- Publication Date:January 17, 1971
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“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. The book concludes with a group of translations of the Japanese poet Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933), with whose work Snyder feels a close affinity. The title, The Back Country
, has three major associations; wilderness. the "backward" countries, and the “back country" of the mind with its levels of being in the unconscious.
The Back Country is one of Gary Snyder's most serious engagements with Eastern culture and thought. Much of the book works to achieve a perspective by means of contrast, as in "Hitch Haiku," a series of haiku (a Japanese form of imagistic, syllabic verse) mostly set in the American West. Perhaps the strongest poem is "Oil," in which Snyder envisions a tanker as a needle bringing our addicted nation "long injections of pure oil."
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