Practice of the Wild, Video

Practice of the Wild, Video


I’m lucky enough to have gotten to know both Gary Snyder and Jim Harrison over the years — I studied with Gary at UC Davis where we were also both involved in the Art of the Wild workshops at Squaw Valley, and Harrison, well, we have a bunch of friends in common, and he’s a neighbor here in Livingston. I actually first met Harrison when he came to Davis to do a reading and to visit Gary. Snyder was teaching a course in Zen and Chinese, Japanese and American poetry — it was one of those courses where several professors sat in, including Alan Williamson who used to gently chide us when we turned the Romantic poets into straw men for our arguments. Harrison came to visit, and then years later, when we ran into one another again here in Livingston, it’s that class that still stands out. That one course was worth all those years in grad school, all the hassle and pain and even the thousands of dollars I’m still paying off.

One reason Harrison came to Davis that spring was that he and Gary have been corresponding since 1965, about Zen, and poetry, and all the rest of it. Will Hearst had them down to his spectacular chunk of the California coastline and filmed them pretty much just walking around and talking to one another. The movie’s available on Amazon now, and it’s only $19 dollars, so I went ahead and bought a copy. And while I wish they’d gotten a little more of both writers’ humor in to the piece, it’s well worth investing in a copy if you’re interested in Zen, or the California school of poetry, or the challenges of representing nature in the written word, or Harrison or Snyder.

3 thoughts on “Practice of the Wild, Video

  1. Was it the Hearst ranch by San Simeon that Will Hearst brought Snyder and Harrison to, Charlotte? If so, this film sounds like something I’d want to see as well as hear. Is that right?

    By the way, did you know that Harrison wrote the forward to Robert Bringhurst’s “The Tree of Meaning”? Do you know of Bringhurst?

  2. Yup — it’s the big ranch. You’d love the movie Chris, although you might want to wait — Jim told me that Shoemaker is doing a book that collects the full three days of interviews between them along with the DVD. He also told me that Gary’s dog, the apricot poodle, slept by Carole’s side every night — which just makes me weep. And laugh. The idea of Gary Snyder and an apricot standard poodle is sort of marvelous.

  3. Thanks, Charlotte. Maybe I can rent the video via a university system, then get the book. Next time you see Harrison, ask him about Bringhurst.

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