How Poetry Comes to Me

by Gary Snyder

Original Language English

It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light

-- from No Nature: New and Selected Poems, by Gary Snyder

<<Previous Poem | More Poems by Gary Snyder | Next Poem >>

/ Image by Thelonious Gonzo /

View All Poems by Gary Snyder

Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This isn't one of those poems that makes you giddy with its language and vision. It's simple, even plain. But something about the image it conjures up is both haunting and inspiring to me.

Gary Snyder describes poetic inspiration as a shamanic encounter. I imagine the poet crouched before his small campfire out in the desert somewhere, with the vast black night all around him. And poetry comes, a creature of the Otherworld, shy and dangerous and unknown, drawn to the light yet keeping to shadow. Only a poet thinks to stand and turn, to walk to the edge of the well-lit world and peer into the unknown. The most dangerous poets extend a hand and say, "Welcome."

That's when the world is replenished with mystery.

...Anyone going camping this weekend?

Recommended Books: Gary Snyder

Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems No Nature: New and Selected Poems Turtle Island The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry and Translations Mountains and Rivers Without End
More Books >>

How Poetry Comes to