Ethnopoetics is a poetic movement and subfield in linguistics, and anthropology. Coined as a term by Rothenberg in 1968. The idea of ethnopoetics is based on two interrelated concepts.
Yesterday, (who was it), David Antin, I believe, told how the Tragedians asked Plato to let them put on some tragedies. Plato said, “Very interesting, gentlemen, but I must tell you something. We have prepared here the greatest tragedy of all. It is called – The State.”
From a very early age I found myself standing in an undefinable awe before the natural world. An attitude of gratitude, wonder, and a sense of protection especially as I began to see the hills being bulldozed down for roads, and the forests of the Pacific Nothwest magically oat away on logging trucks. I grew up in a rural family in the state of Washington. My grandfather was a homesteader in the Pacific Northwest. The economic base of the whole region was logging. In trying to grasp the dynamics of what was happening, rural state of Washington, 1930’s, depression, white boy out in the country, German on one side, Scotch- Irish on the other side, radical, that is to say, sort of grass roots Union, I.W.W., and socialist-radical parents, I found nothing in their orientation, (critical as it was of American politics and economics), that could give me an access to understanding what was happening. I had to find that through reading and imagination, which lead me into a variety of politics: Marxist, Anarchist, and onwards.
Mu Ch’i’s Persimmons
There is no remedy for satisfying hunger other than a painted rice cake.
—Dōgen, November, 1242.
On a back wall down the hall
lit by a side glass door
is the scroll of Mu Ch’i’s great
sumi painting, “Persimmons”
The wind-weights hanging from the
axles hold it still.
The best in the world, I say,
Perfect statement of emptiness
no other than form
the twig and the stalk still on,
the way they sell them in the
market even now.
The original’s in Kyoto at a
lovely Rinzai temple where they
show it once a year
this one’s a perfect copy from Benrido
I chose the mounting elements myself
with the advice of the mounter
I hang it every fall.
And now, to these overripe persimmons
from Mike and Barbara’s orchard.
Napkin in hand,
I bend over the sink
suck the sweet orange goop
that’s how I like it
gripping a little twig
those painted persimmons
sure cure hunger
Civilization Those are the people who do complicated things. they'll grab us by the thousands and put us to work. World's going to hell, with all these villages and trails. Wild duck flocks aren't what they used to be. Aurochs grow rare. Fetch me my feathers and amber * A small cricket on the typescript page of "Kyoto born in spring song" grooms himself in time with The Well-Tempered Clavier. I quit typing and watch him through a glass. How well articulated! How neat! Nobody understands the ANIMAL KINGDOM. * When creeks are full The poems flow When creeks are down We heap stones. from Logging "Lodgepole Pine: the wonderful reproductive power of this species on areas over which its stand has been killed by fire is dependent upon the ability of the closed cones to endure a fire which kills the tree without injuring its seed. After fire, the cones open and shed their seeds on the bared ground and a new growth springs up." Stood straight holding the choker high As the Cat swung back the arch piss-firs falling, Limbs snapping on the tin hat bright D caught on Swinging butt-hooks ringing against cold steel. Hsu Fang lived on leeks and pumpkins. Goosefoot, wild herbs, fields lying fallow! But it's hard to farm Between the stumps: The cows get thin, the milk tastes funny, The kids grow up and go to college They don't come back the little fir trees do Rocks the same blue as sky Only icefields, a mile up, are the mountain Hovering over ten thousand acres Of young fir. Gary Snyder
If Ginsberg is the Beat movement’s Walt Whitman, Gary Snyder is the Henry David Thoreau. — Bruce Cook