Gary Snyder has stated that, “As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the late Paleolithic; the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying Initiation and rebirth; the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.” Consider how each of these concepts can be applied to a specific poem.
Snyder believes that “the rhythms of my poems follow the rhythms of the physical work I’m doing.” Discuss the ways in which the variety of rhythmic patterns in Snyder’s poetry help to develop the mood and tone of a poem.
Snyder has said that his intention in Mountains and Rivers Without End was to break down “the limit between the psychic and the physical.” How does this inform individual sections of the poem?
In “What You Should Know to Be a Poet,” Snyder lists “all you can about animals as persons.” Examine the ways in which he establishes a correspondence between human and animal nature in his work.
In explaining his goals, Snyder has proclaimed, “In a visionary way, what we want poetry to do is guide lovers toward ecstasy, give witness to the dignity of old people, intensify human bonds, elevate the community and improve the public spirit.” Identify poems that accomplish each of these tasks, and show how they do this.