In this thoughtful, affectionate collection of interviews and letters spanning three decades, beloved poet Gary Snyder talks with South African writer and scholar Julia Martin. Over this period many things changed decisively-globally, locally, and in their personal lives-and these changing conditions provide the back story for a long conversation. It begins in the early 1980s as an intellectual exchange between an earnest graduate student and a generous distinguished writer, and becomes a long-distance friendship and an exploration of spiritual practice. At the project's heart is Snyder's understanding of Buddhism. Again and again, the conversations return to an explication of the teachings. Snyder's characteristic approach is to articulate a direct experience of Buddhist practice rather than any kind of abstract philosophy. In the version he describes here, this practice finds expression not primarily as an Asian import or a monastic ideal, but in the specificities of a householder's life as lived creatively in a particular location at a particular moment in history. This means that whatever "topic" a dialogue explores, there is a sense that all of it is about practice-the spiritual-social practice of a contemporary poet.
- 2014 Gary Snyder, Julia Martin
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