Practice of the Wild (A Conversation with Gary Snyder)
What's the big deal about Gary Snyder? You may as well ask what's the big deal about trees, rocks, streams, and birds.
The word “appreciation” comes to mind when thinking about one of the most iconic residents of Nevada County. The poet, essayist, and activist intones a “pledge of allegiance,” in his book “Turtle Island.” He refers to “one ecosystem / in diversity / under the sun / with joyful interpenetration for all.” When he speaks “For the Children,” also in that Pulitzer Prize winning book, he flows to the words “learn the flowers / go light.”
The film “The Practice of the Wild” builds around a conversation with Gary Snyder. The documentary includes some poetry reading by Snyder as well as enough biography to weave an appreciation for this appreciater of our shared world.
Snyder's celebrity has endured since his initial prominence in the “Beat” era of the 1950s with the likes of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Much more than his celebrity, more than decades of published work, Snyder might prefer being appreciated for continuing, at age 80, to do hard physical work.
“The Practice of the Wild” is a low-key, casual hour. It addresses a range of ideas, though it never travels far from the Zen sensibilities that Snyder helped enliven in the United States. Hear what the Zen knife cuts. Hear what Snyder thinks about reincarnation. Hear how he refers to nature, to simplicity, to thinking (and learning) locally.
The evening is a fundraiser, so along with appreciating Snyder, you can show your appreciation for both The Center for the Arts and the upcoming 10th Nevada City Film Festival. Some playful mini-screenings about that tenth festival and past festival fun will add to the Gary Snyder flavor of the evening.