By any measure, Gary Snyder is one of the greatest poets in America in the last century. From his first book of poems to his latest collection of essays, his work and his example, standing between Tu Fu and Thoreau, have been influential all over the world. Riprap, his first book of poems, was published in Japan in 1959 by Origin Press, and it is the fiftieth anniversary of that groundbreaking book we celebrate with this edition. A small press reprint of that book included Snyder''s translations of Han Shan''s Cold Mountain Poems, perhaps the finest translations of that remarkable poet ever made into English.br>br>Reintroducing one of the twentieth century''s foremost collections of poetry, this edition will please those already familiar with this work and excite a new generation of readers with its profound simplicity and spare elegance.
In Axe Handles Mr. Snyder reveals the roots of community in the family and explores the transmission of cultural values and knowledge.br>br> "In making the handle of an axe by cutting wood with an axe the model is indeed near at hand." In exploring this axiom of Lu Ji''s, Gary Snyder continues:br>br>I am an axebr>br>And my son a handle, soonbr>br>To be shaping again, modelbr>br>And tool, craft of culture,br>br>How we go on.br>br>This is a collection of discovery, of insight, and of vision. These poems see the roots of community in the family, and the roots of culture and government in the community.br>br>Formally, the 71 poems in Axe Handles range from lyrics to riddles to narratives. The collection is divided into three parts, called "Loops," "Little Songs for Gaia," and "Nets," each containing poems of disciplined clarity. Gary Snyder knows well the great power of silence in a poem, silence that allows the mind space enough to discover the magic of song.