The Wilds of Poetry:
Adventures in Mind and Landscape
Henry David Thoreau, in The Maine Woods, describes a moment on Mount Ktaadin when all explanations and assumptions fell away for him and he was confronted with the wonderful, inexplicable thusness of things. David Hinton takes that moment as the starting point for his account of a re-wilding of consciousness in the West: a dawning awareness of our essential oneness with the world around us. Because there was no Western vocabulary for this perception, it fell to poets to make the first efforts at articulation, and those efforts were largely driven by Taoist and Ch’an (Zen) Buddhist ideas imported from ancient China. Hinton chronicles this re-wilding through the lineage of avant-garde poetry in twentieth-century America—from Ezra Pound and Robinson Jeffers to Gary Snyder, W. S. Merwin, and beyond—including generous selections of poems that together form a compelling anthology of ecopoetry. In his much-admired translations, Hinton has reenvisioned ancient Chinese rivers-and-mountains poetry as modern American poetry; here, he reenvisions modern American poetry as an extension of that ancient Chinese tradition: an ecopoetry that weaves consciousness into the Cosmos in radical and fundamental ways.
— from the book jacket