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Detail from Boating under the Red Cliff

Audio Feature

Gary Snyder: Mountains and Rivers without End


0:00-28:46 The Making of Mountains and Rivers without End

19:07-20:44 Gary Snyder's reflections on viewing the scroll, Mountains and Rivers Without End, in Freer Storage. This scroll is currently on view in the Freer Gallery through June 12, 2011 as part of the exhibition, Seasons: Chinese Landscapes.

20:45-22:18 Gary Snyder's reflections on other paintings in the Freer collection:

  1. Guo Xi Paintings
  2. Wen Zhengming's handscroll illustrating the Red Cliff Fu prose-poem by Su Shih.
    This scroll is currently on view in the Freer Gallery through June 12, 2011 as part of the exhibition, Seasons: Chinese Landscapes.
    "...the little boat going down the rapids alongside the Great Red Cliff. Su Shih--wonderful, one of the top Chinese poets and also a great administrator, the governor of all South China--is half drunk in a boat with some girls, singing. It's a wonderful poem, too."
  3. Wang Hui's Dwelling in the Fu Chun Mountains

24:39-26:13 Discussion of Chiura Obata's Woodblocks of California Landscape

28:47-54:25 Readings of Selected Poetry from Mountains and Rivers without End

28:47-30:07 Readings of Quotations from Milarepa and Dogen

30:08-37:43 Reading of Opening Poem of Snyder's Book
Comprised of

  1. Endless Streams and Mountains;
  2. Colophons from the same scroll;
  3. Poetry Added to Endless Streams and Mountains by Owners of the Scroll; and
  4. Segue into Related Poetry by Gary Snyder.

37:44-38:56 Reading of Poem: Old Bones
"A little invocation to the ancients, to our ancestors, to all of our ancestors"

38:57-42:32 Reading of Poem: Falls (Part of a larger poem entitled, The Flowing, describing Yosemite Falls)

42:33-47:02 Reading of Poem: Raven's Beak River: At the End.
"Raven's Beak is the translation into English from the Athabascan word, tatshenshin, or tatshenshini. So this is the Tatshenshini River that rises in Eastern British Columbia and crosses on into Southeast Alaska and finally goes out into the Gulf of Alaska at a place that is quite misnamed, called Dry Bay, where it rains continuously. This was part of my study of rivers."

At the end of the ice age/We are the bears, we are the ravens,/We are the salmon/in the gravel/At the end of an ice age/Growing on the gravels/At the end of a glacier/Flying off alone/flying off alone/flying off alone/Off alone

"That has become truer than I thought it would when I wrote it; because with climate change and the apparent global warming, it really does mark the end of the ice age, probably."

47:03-47:33 Reading of Poem: Earth Verse.
"Central Australian Desert"

47:34-54:25 Reading of Poem: Finding a Place in the Heart
"Some of you will recognize this as one of the largest playas in the world in Northern Nevada. A playa is a dry lake bed, perfectly flat, miles wide, miles long, such as is the Bonneville Salt Flats. That is the largest playa in the world. And all of these dry lake beds that you find in the Great Basin are memories of Lake Lahontan, an inland sea that went almost from the Rockies to the Cascades at various times a few thousand years back, a few millennia back."

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