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This engaging collection of essays about East Asia is written in a style that strikes a near-perfect balance between erudite and poetic, which is no surprise coming from award-winning author and poet Gary Snyder, a long-time practitioner of Zen. The Great Clod is the result of his 20-year love affair with East Asia, from the Pacific coast of Japan to the Great Steppes of Mongolia to the Yellow River of China.
For the full course of his remarkable career, Gary Snyder has continued his study of East Asian culture and philosophies. From the Ainu to the Mongols, from Hokkaido to Okinawa, from the landscapes of China to the backcountry of contemporary Japan, from the temples of Daitokoji to the Yellow River Valley, it is now clear how this work has influenced his poetry, his stance as an environmental and political activist, and his long practice of Zen. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Asia became a vocation for Snyder. While most American writers looked to the capitals of Europe for their inspiration, Snyder looked west to the East. American letters is profoundly indebted to this geographical choice.
Long rumored to exist, The Great Clod
collects several published in The Coevolution Quarterly
almost forty years ago when Snyder briefly described this work as "The China Book," and several others, the majority, never before published in any form. "Summer in Hokkaido," "Wild in China," "Ink and Charcoal," "Wolf-Hair Brush," these essays turn from being memoirs of travel to prolonged considerations of art, culture, natural history and religion. It is filled with Snyder's remarkable insights and briskly beautiful descriptions.