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A Place for Wayfaring

The Poetry and Prose of Gary Snyder

Patrick D. Murphy

2000. ISBN 978-0-87071-479-5. Paperback, $21.95.

An excellent introduction for readers coming to Gary Snyder for the first time and an overview of the work for the many readers already familiar with his writings, A Place for Wayfaring offers the only comprehensive guide to one of the most influential cultural and literary voices of the twentieth century.

Patrick Murphy's detailed study follows Snyder's development as a writer, from rising young star of the San Francisco Renaissance to his emergence in recent decades as a leading ecological thinker. All of Snyder's best-known works come under discussion, from his first collection of poems, Riprap, to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Turtle Island, through the nature essays of The Practice of the Wild and the new work featured in the recent Gary Snyder Reader. Murphy's close and informed reading of the monumental poem cycle, Mountains and Rivers Without End, reveals its defining place in Snyder's broad-ranging body of work.

In considering the writings, Murphy traces the sources of Snyder's life work: the experience of physical labor, the study and practice of Buddhism, a connection to the natural world, a commitment to reestablishing a balanced relation between humans and nature. With the prominence of environmental themes in Snyder's writings, A Place for Wayfaring will prove invaluable to the growing numbers of readers interested in environmental literature. It shows how Snyder's poetry and prose have increasingly reached across audiences and generations and explores their implications for the future.

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