Anthony Hunt

Hunt, Anthony

   

                               

                       ANTHONY HUNT CV.pdf

       

   Prof. Hunt (ret.) taught at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez (1972-2002). He served as a Senior Fulbright-Hays lecturer in American literature at the University of Wrocław (Poland, 1975-76) and again at the University of Osijek (Croatia, 1986-87). In July 2003 he taught a month-long graduate course on Gary Snyder's Mountains and Rivers Without End at Tamkang University (Taiwan). On several occasions he conducted workshops for teachers in the former Yugoslavia as an Academic Specialist for the U.S. Information Service.

   His publications and presentations include his own poems, as well as scholarly commentary on various modern figures and movements, but the work of the contemporary American poet, Gary Snyder, was the major focus of his academic research for over 25 years. His book on Snyder — Genesis, Structure, and Meaning in Gary Snyder's 'Mountains and Rivers Without End'— has been praised by literary critics and by Gary Snyder himself. Hunt's poetry has appeared in Sargasso, Nimrod, Paintbrush, the Hampden Sydney Review, and, most recently, in the Malpais Review and Fixed and Free-Poetry Anthology 2015.

   Prof. Hunt received his PhD in English from the University of New Mexico.

Main Works

Genesis, Structure, and Meaning in Gary Snyder’s 'Mountains and Rivers without End' ( 2004)

"Gary Snyder" (Biographical entry), in An Encyclopedia of American Literature of the Sea and the Great Lakes, ed. Jill B. Gidmark (2000)

Selected Articles on Gary Snyder

"Sailing the Metaphorical Seas of the Middle East: Gary Snyder's 'Boat of a Million Years'" (2000)

"Singing the Dyads: The Chinese Landscape Scroll and Gary Snyder's Mountains and Rivers Without End" (1999)

“'The Hump-backed Flute Player': The Structure of Emptiness in Gary Snyder’s Mountains and Rivers without End" (1993)

“'Bubbs Creek Haircut': Gary Snyder's 'Great Departure' in Mountains and Rivers without End" (1980)

"Gary Snyder's 'After Work'" (1974)

                     

Title: "Instructions" for Attentive Listening: The Rhythms of Gary Snyder’s Mountains and Rivers Without End /or/ How Art Satisfies Hunger, Really!

Abstract: Dōgen's teaching about reality—that a "painted rice cake" satisfies hunger—serves as one of two epigraphs to Gary Snyder's Mountains and Rivers Without End. Clearly, both the poet's long poem and its ekphrastic source, the East Asian landscape scroll entitled "Ch'i-shan wu-chin" ("Streams and Mountains without End"), are analogues to such painted rice cakes. The same is true of the Noh play Yamamba (Yamauba or Yamanba) which provides the underlying narrative pattern for Snyder's poem: a traveler's series of meetings with diverse beings, culminating in a climactic transformative encounter with an old "Mountain Spirit" embodied within an ancient Bristlecone pine on the top of the White Mountains of California. With the whole universe ostensibly listening, the Mountain Spirit whispers to the narrator, the poet's alter-ego, that "All art and song / is sacred to the real. /As such." And then, entwined together, they dance in virtual space.

 "Instructions," the short fourth poem of the second part of Mountains and Rivers Without End, provides us with a method to come to terms with these "painted rice cakes" and thereby satisfy our hunger as critical readers. Clearly more than a matter of automotive mechanics and fossil fuel ecology, "Instructions" provides guidelines of another kind. The poem ends with the lines: "off, on. Off, on. Just / two places. Forever, // or, not even one." The poem's wisdom teaches us to "go beyond" what is both real and sacred. The journey to that "beyond-place," that "not even one" place, wherever it exists, may even provide a taste of enlightenment. And that's where art will satisfy hunger.

 How do we go there? Readers must first experience the rhythms (often dyadic) in order to learn to go beyond them: not this one, nor that other one; not solely the mountains, nor only the rivers; not just the human, nor the animal, nor the plant. The goal is to experience a larger rhythm of interconnectedness where one may find a hint of totality, if only for a passing moment. Readers start by listening to sounds that expand into words which blossom into images. Ultimately this combination, influenced by history, culture, and personality, evolves into the felt ideas and experiences that constitute meanings in a poem which, in turn, inform one's understanding of sounds, words, images, and ideas once more. Spotting a design, whether consciously put in place by a creator (or not), is the aspiration of critical readers. Mere description (of poems and lives) is important, but true understanding begins with spotting patterns—the "paintedness" of the rice cakes.

 Snyder told Wendell Berry that he "loved the sense of almost musical composition, completion that it has given me to finish it" [GS to WB: Nov 11, 1996 in Distant Neighbors (Counterpoint 2014)]. Using the "instructions" provided by the poet, it is my hope that we may "hear" the music of Mountains and Rivers Without End. Experiencing its rhythms, the patterns, the design of Snyder's long poem will lead us not merely to an intellectual understanding of the poem, nor just to an appreciation of its individual lines; it may just give us a taste of wholeness and satisfy, at least in part, our hunger.


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