Practice of the Wild

I remember back in the summer of 2000 writing an essay about Gary Snyder’s Practice of the Wild. Now there is a film about the book; it actually came out in May of this year, but is coming to a film festival nearby in the first weekend of October, so I’m excited about it. The film is produced by Will Hearst and Jim Harrison, and stars the latter along with Gary Snyder.

From their Facebook page:

The Practice of the Wild is a film profile of the poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder. Snyder has been a creative force in all the major cultural changes that have created the modern world. Along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, he was a central figure of the Beat generation. He helped bring Zen Buddhism into the America scene, was an active participant in the anti-war movement and an inspiration for the quest for human potential. All along he was a founding intellect, essayist and leader of the new environmental awareness that supports legislation and preservation without losing sight of direct wild experience — local people, animals, plants, watersheds and food sources.

This film, borrowing its name from one of Snyder’s most eloquent non-fiction books, revolves around a life-long conversation between Snyder and his fellow poet and novelist Jim Harrison. These two old friends and venerated men of American letters converse while taking a wilderness trek along the central California coast in an area that has been untouched for centuries. They debate the pros and cons of everything from Google to Zen koans. The discussions are punctuated by archival materials and commentaries from Snyder friends, observers, and intimates who take us through the ‘Beat’ years, the years of Zen study in Japan up to the present — where Snyder continues to be a powerful spokesperson for ecological sanity and bio-regionalism.

This film will be showing at the Wild Salmon Film Festival in Mission, BC. I’ll post more about the film after seeing it.

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