The Great Clod: Notes and Memoirs on Nature and History in East Asia – Gary Snyder


Over the course of his singular career, the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet, essayist, environmental activist, and Beat icon Gary Snyder has derived wisdom and inspiration from his study of Eastern philosophies, cultures, and art. Now, with this collection of eight essays, Snyder offers “a deceptively small book enfolding a lifetime’s worth of study” (Kirkus Reviews).

The Great Clod is the culmination of a project that Snyder began in 1969 with the essay ‘Summer in Hokkaido,’ first published in Coevolution Quarterly. In it and the subsequent entries, most of which are published here for the first time, Snyder weaves together elements of travel memoir and poetic insight with scholarly meditations on civilization’s relationship to the environment. The result is a seamless exploration of Asia that ranges from Hokkaido to Kyoto, from the Ainu to the Mongols, from the landscapes of China to the backcountry of Japan, and from the temples of Daitokoji to the Yellow River Valley.

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