The Practice of the Wild: Essays
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The Practice of the Wild: Essays

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  1,142 ratings  ·  51 reviews
The nine captivatingly meditative essays in The Practice of the Wild display the deep understanding and wide erudition of Gary Snyder in the ways of Buddhist belief, wildness, wildlife, and the world. These essays, first published in 1990, stand as the mature centerpiece of Snyder’s work and thought, and this profound collection is widely accepted as one of the central tex...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by Counterpoint (first published September 1990)
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I'm going to put my hands up and say, sorry Gary, it's not you it's me, well maybe it is a little bit you. I wanted to love this so much more (not just because it is one of my wife's favourite books). This is clearly a hugely important, far-reaching, and profound treatise on what the wilderness means, the myths and practices surrounding the wild that continue to inform us and the lessons we ought to learn from them. Snyder writes compassionately, with wisdom and eloquence, and the essays combine...more
Nic King
A perpetual evil has been at work destroying the nurturing, life-endowing planet, stripping it of its resources since the fifth century with the rise of small cities. Humans began to detach themselves from nature, associating the wild with a negative connotation. The idea that nature as sacred shortly existed during the Romantic period and throughout the ten years after this book was written humanity once again sees nature as something worth protecting, preserving, and connecting with.
This curr...more
Gary is not an armchair ecologist. He earned his title, Poet Laureate of Deep Ecology, by cutting line on wildfires, losing himself in wilderness, reading science and the great poets of Japan and China, and winnowing the wheat from the chaff by diving into Void.

In this seminal, important collection he writes of the etiquette of freedom, and how that relates to wildness. He has learned Nature's great lesson: that wilderness, and wild mind, are not chaotic and out of control, but self-governing....more
Tim Weakley
Snyder has, in this collection of essays, written from the heart and the soul about his passion for the wild places. I am not a wilderness type, but reading this book makes plain his passion and spiritual commitment. I placed this book on my Buddhist shelf as well because of the author's repeated touching on those principles with regards to the wild. It has a real sense of thusness about it.
A diverse and interesting melange of essays that is part memoir, poetry, and philosophy about man and his relationship to the natural world. There are elements from China, Japan, and Native American cultures. It's like a Zen Thoreau. The essays at times seem unrelated to each other but at other times you can sense a seam uniting them. This book was written over twenty years ago and I wonder how the author feels now as it seems his message has been completely ignored. This is one of those books t...more
Robert Dietrich
Foundational book for me. Snyder's ideas regarding nature, wildness and wilderness should inform our national conversation regarding environmental policies. Which is not to suggest this is dry, academic stuff, on the contrary, it has wisdom flying off of every page. It speaks to the human condition and it's relation to, and reliance on, the non-human. One you can return to over and over again and gain something different each time.
the best western flowering of the dharma ive found
Tom Morgan
Possibly the best book I've ever read.
Jim Parker
This book is a collection of essays. Some of the essays are very good, the rest are excellent. Anyone who cares about conservation and understanding the wild must read this book. I had read some the essays in another collection of Snyder's work. Rereading those essays was a joy. Beside the commentaries on wilderness he also writes eloquently about Buddhist practice. Gary Snyder should be the Secretary of the Interior.
To me, Practice of the Wild is a book difficult to describe. There's a lot of deep thought put onto it. The kind of thought that years of meditation, work and experience can only yield. It's not a book that talks about nature or wilderness from a scientific or conservationist point of view, but from a spiritual perspective. The main conclusion I drew from the essays was that we should protect nature so we can be inspired by it, by going to mountains and woods and living it. As every human being...more
He's Gary Snyder what more could you effing want in a review of his work? I thought of this book because I'm currently reading Mark Bittner's memoir 'The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill A Love Story... With Wings' and Bittner mentions the reason he moved to North Beach was because he wanted to experience what the beats were all about. Go Bittner.

As an aside, I once met Gary Snyder while I was an under graduate at UC Davis. I was working at a Border's Bookstore and I cashiered his transaction of p...more
p4-there will be enough pain in the world as it is. p8-supernatural is a name for phenomena which are reported by so few people as to leave their reality in doubt. p10-wild societies maintained by force of consensus and custom. p12-human beings came out of wholeness. p13-natural societies:people who lived without church or state. p16-the world is our consciousness.the conscious-agenda planning ego occupies a very tiny territory. p17-we cannot as individuals or even species take credit for langua...more
Aodhan Hemeon-mcmahon
This had an immense impact on me, sparking a reevaluation of my understanding of nature and, in part, leading me to an ecocentric philosophy and spirituality. One of my favorite books, period.
Eliot Fiend
it took me about five months to work my way through this book, because there was so much i wanted to share and read aloud. snyder's weaving of specific discussions of forestry practices in the northwest and values of indigenous alaskans and plants of california and buddhist ideology were brilliant and fascinating and left me satisfied, curious, and hungry for more in each section. on a meta-level, the balance of inspiration to resistance and philosophical acceptance with the lives we lead was ex...more
This was my introduction to Snyder. I was reading it at the same time as I read The secret life of pronouns by Pennebaker so I found myself noticing things like he uses very few personal pronouns and hardly ever uses I. Which i suuppose fits with a Buddist world view. His views on the relationship between humans and wild animals was interesting to me. I never really thought about animals liking out music, still not sure what I think about that. He makes some strong spiritual arguments for the fr...more
Aug 25, 2012 Robert is currently reading it
(5.30.12) Merrill and I took a trip to Portland and spent Monday morning in Powell's. Nordstrom bought her $600 of fashion books. I bought this plus 'Desolation Angels' and 'Jack's Book'.

(7.7.12) I've read both of those now. It would be amusing to see how many books I've bought since Merrill encouraged me to re-read The Dharma Bums and got me into all this stuff again. (Actually, it's only five!) Anyway Gary Snyder is the most appealing of the group and I'm starting this one now.

Liked this book, a collection of essays from someone who really loves nature and has dedicated a large portion of his life to studying it living with and in it, I dont run across enough of Gary Snyder's books in the used book stores so this was a pleasure to read, something different from the poetry.
Because this book showed up on numerous bibliographies of books that I have read on the natural world/environment, I read it. A few of the essays were articulate and kept my attention. Most did not. He is mainly a poet - and also a Buddhist. I would probably like his poetry.
Sara Gray
Three and a half stars. I thought this would be a nice, relaxing bit of nature writing, but instead I was pleased to discover challenging, serious essays about forest conservation, wildness, and Buddhism, all of which made me rethink my definitions of "natural" and "wild."
Ann Klefstad
This book of essays is both indispensable and somehow grating . . . it is not Snyder's fault that what he has to teach comes so crossgrained into these times.
That said, read it. Snyder may be an axegrinder . . . but his axe is good and sharp by now. It's a useful tool.
Absolutely beautiful and thoughtful. It's not only clear and intelligent, but gorgeously written. Gary Snyder has made me appreciate wilderness and humanity and walking in whole new and enlightening ways.
Diana Michele
Was a bit rambling, really, but I still enjoyed what he was saying. He is an important thinker in the deep ecology movement and it gives some great moments of reflection and personal challenge.
Jun 28, 2008 Tyler rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tyler by: Mark Schlenz
When I write a book...I would be happy if it was half as good as this book. If you want to read some good environmental parables about our relationships with the natural world, read this book.
Snyder is an outstanding poet, and as this book of essays (though really one work) proves, quite a writer of prose. Brilliant, and I will be reading this again. It's a book to keep around.
3.5 stars. This book of essays can be rather hit or miss. His essay on the Tragedy of the Commons was excellent and really changed my mind on the interpretation of the subject.
Leela Francis
These essays become like close friends when you read them. They can stay with you a lifetime if you let them in.

Leela Francis
It touches my soul. It abouts man's relationship to nature and nature to mankind. Our lives are enriched by wild and open places..
Splendid book of essays, in particular liked the first on ecological ethics and freedome, and 'On the Path, Off the Trail'.
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Gary Snyder is an American poet (originally, often associated with the Beat Generation), essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist. Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Since the 1970s, he has frequently been described as the 'laureate of Deep Ecology'. From the 1950s on, he has published travel-journals and essays from time to time. His work in his various roles reflects his im...more
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