April 4th, 2007
Danger on Peaks (Washington: Shoemaker and Hoard, 2004) is a slim book of poems from a man who is now in his mid seventies. As usual the poems are spare and understated, and reach for the clarity of a summer morning in the high Sierras. The tone of the collection seems somewhat elegaic, largely due to the number of poems which recollect experiences Synder had in the fifties or later. As usual we are introduced to the quality of simple, hard work amongst the truckies and loggers of the US, and taken into simple and limpid moments amongst the granite of the Californian mountains. This isn’t Snyder’s best collection in my view, but it does contain a handful of poems worth reading.
The last two lines of the book are my favourite, and are translated from Chinese. You can almost hear the quiet, koan-like intonations of Synder’s voice behind these words:
hail all noble woke-up big-heart beings;
hail – great wisdom of the path that goes beyond
April 2nd, 2007
I’m just back from Rottnest, the island off the coast of Western Australia. This arid fragment of limestone floats in a scintillating blue and green sea. It is shored by finely ground shells and inland jagged, wind-blown and salt-tolerant plants make their home.
I’ve finally got a couple of reasonably good photographs of the place. So check my gallery – follow the link on the top right – to see the island’s colours.
March 30th, 2007
I’d like to announce that a new blog has arrived in my home town Fremantle: Freo Stencils.
Of course the British artist Banksy is the acknowledged king of stencil art placed in urban spaces. However this frequently political art form has been taken over by all kinds of people in the community, as is evidenced by this website. With the public space, the agora of Greek civilization, monopolised these days by merchants of mindless consumption, I see stencil art, at its best, as a stand against this culture of consumption, in the manner of Kalle Lasn, the inspirational and courageous Estonian prankster who founded Adbusters magazine.
To the writer of this new blog, I salute you!