I was even more pleased to spot on YouTube recently some great footage of a Gary Snyder reading. Here are the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
This is the 300th post on Some Landscapes, and I think it's sometimes a little hard to see coherent patterns and themes emerging here. I've been looking again at Gary Snyder: Dimensions of a Life, a festschrift published back in 1991 by the Sierra Club. It includes an essay by Peter Coyote describing a cross-referenced library card index system Snyder has evolved, to organise his quotes, thoughts and ideas. There is, of course, a big step between this simple academic kind of organisation and the ability to organise one's perceptions of the world. Coyote writes that Snyder does this and then goes a step further again, by actually 'identifying with the patterns he perceives... he might, for instance, feel that the back of his head opens onto the Sierra mountain range, and that that range is his spine.' It's natural to identify Snyder with the Sierra landscape. Flicking back to a poem in the same book, 'September Ridge' by Will Peterson, there's a quote from Snyder, writing in Japan more than fifty years ago, that 'the best wandering mountains in the world may be the high sierra - no bugs, no rain, no people, clear cool sunshine & hundreds of square miles of alpine terrain...'