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.
Here you will find "a series of essays on Asia's ecological history, combining culture and politics in a way that is, unsurprisingly, poetic and graceful" (Japan Times).
"His newest book of prose, The Great Clod, is a series of essays on Asia's ecological history, combining culture and politics in a way that is, unsurprisingly, poetic and graceful. The Great Clod may be slim but its scope is immense."--The Japan Times
"Classical poetry, calligraphy, the best source of temple incense--all figure in the text, which has something of the feel of a valediction. Elegant and thoughtful, with much to read between the lines in commentary on a long life's work. Students and admirers of Snyder will be enchanted and intrigued." --Kirkus Reviews
"Each essay furnishes a graceful, very conversational (sentence fragments and all), but keenly well-informed enticement to pursue its subject further. This kind of friendly, even compassionate, mode of instruction comes, of course, from the American arguably most responsible for spreading appreciation of East Asia among North Americans." --Booklist