"Wild nature as the ultimate ground of human affairs"--the beautiful, precarious balance among forces and species forms a unifying theme for the new poems in this collection. The title, Regarding Wave, reflects "a half-buried series of word origins dating back through the Indo-European language: intersections of energy, woman, song and 'Gone Beyond Wisdom.'" Central to the work is a cycle of songs for Snyder's wife, Masa, and their first son, Kai. Probing even further than Snyder's previous collection of poems, The Back Country, this new volume freshly explores "the most archaic values on earth... 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..."
"As a poet," Snyder tells us, "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 intuition and rebirth; the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe." He develops, as replacement for shattered social structures. a concept of tribal tradition which could lead to "growth and enlightenment in self-disciplined freedom. Whatever it is or ever was in any other culture can be reconstructed from the unconscious through meditation...the coming revolution will close the circle and link us in many ways with the most creative aspects of our archaic past."
In 1972, Press-22 issued a beautiful edition of these poems written out by hand in italic by Michael McPherson. We are doing a new augments edition based on the old, with a new design, a preface by Lu Ch'iu-yin, and an afterword by Mr. Snyder where he discusses how he came to this work and what it meant to his development as a writer and Buddhist.
On May 11, 2012, for the Stronach Memorial Lecture at The University of California, more than fifty years after his days there as a student, Snyder offered a public lecture reflecting on Chinese poetry, Han Shan, and his continuing work as a poet and translator. This remarkable occasion was recorded and we are including a CD of it in our edition, making this the most definitive edition of Cold Mountain Poems ever published.
For the 50th anniversary, this completely redesigned edition of Riprap is accompanied by a CD of Snyder reading all the poems in this collection, with introductions and asides. The recording, made in the poet’s home by Jack Loeffler, marks the first time a complete reading has ever been available in a commercial edition.
One of the finest collections of poems published in the 20th century, this edition will please those already familiar with this work and excite a new generation of readers with its profound simplicity and spare elegance.
This remarkable collection was greeted with broad praise, and as Julia Martin proclaimed, “Moving between relative and absolute ways of seeing, [Snyder] responds to the experience of global conflict and personal pain by reminding readers of the continuity of wildness, affirming the value of art, and invoking an ancient practice of wisdom and compassion.”