Thursday, November 15, 2007

Snyder: "It didn't occur to me to think I was powerless ..."

Missed this earlier this year; it's an interview with Gary Snyder from the Guardian. Michael March conducts it, and Snyder talks, among other things, about the relation of his early life to the sense of responsibility toward the social and ecological worlds that has informed his work. It includes this exchange:

MM: When did you realize that it was necessary to be concerned not just with yourself but with your neighborhood and the world as a whole?

GS: I grew up on a small farm with chickens and cows in the woodlands north of Seattle, during the depression. We were extremely poor, but my parents were educated, proud, and thoughtful; their thinking agnostic and socialist. My grandfather had been a speaker for the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) which was strong in the Pacific north-west. My father did some union-organising on a big dam project, the Grand Coulee. This kind of family culture engaged us in discussions and critiques of current events. It was assumed that we would want to consider injustice and suffering in the world, and so we did. In my own work I extended that kind of thinking to include all of nature. It didn't occur to me to think I was powerless and it wouldn't make a difference.
Well worth the few moments it takes to read.

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A tip of the hat to LitKicks.

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