Patrick D. Murphy: On "Riprap"

"Riprap" speaks of how to live as well as how to write and read poetry. Poetry as a material thing, in the form of the written poem, the performed text, and as a relationship, forms part of the world in which humans find themselves and is a source of clues by which they may interpret that world and their place in it. But place is also a relationship, an activity, a "Game of Go." This poem, while embodying in its theme and form the aesthetic concepts displayed throughout Riprap, also embodies a way to learn the world, and a world by which to learn the way. This way is nothing short of "being-in-the-world," a constantly transitory process. It is crucial to realize that the Riprap collection ends with an emphasis not on coming to terms with the world but on the recognition that the world constantly changes, and humans must change their perceptions to keep pace. As Snyder says in his afterword to the 1990 edition of Riprap & Cold Mountain Poems, "the title . . . celebrates the work of hands, the placing of rock, and my first glimpse of the image of the whole universe as interconnected, interpenetrating, mutually reflecting, and mutually embracing" (65-66).

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Criticism Overview
Title Patrick D. Murphy: On "Riprap" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Patrick D. Murphy Criticism Target Gary Snyder
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 21 May 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Understanding Gary Snyder
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