The greatest challenge is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gary Snyder: Buddhist Poet from the Northwest

Gary Snyder Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder was returning to his roots in the Northwest environmental movement and took part in an evening of poetry readings.

When he read “Mid–August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout”, the audience breathed a soft “mmmm”...  the noise of collective awe, of being moved as a group.

Co-sponsored by SAL and the North Cascades Institute, his talk drew hundreds of young people. He touched on his own childhood spent living on a homestead in what is now Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood, and later, in Portland.

When asked about the disconnect between young people and the environment, Snyder said, “Not only should you get your kids outside, they should have tools and they should work... In cultures close to nature and close to the bone, you’re always picking things up.”

He also connected his idea of sustainability — the assurance that “all the interacting parts of the ecosystem will be kept intact” — with his idea of a wild, or self-managing, mind: “A wild animal does not need instructions from human beings, nor does it need food put out for it. Your body is a wild system that manages itself. Ego sits in a tower and thinks it’s running things.”

“You don’t know what you’ll think next,” he added. The wild mind naturally creates art, “but you also need a cultivated mind, you need to learn good English, to know how to break the rules.”

Seattle Arts & Lectures Brings Buddhist Poets to the Northwest