Trinity University Press

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Nobody Home

Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places

Julia Martin (author), Gary Snyder (author)

A collection of interviews and letters between beloved poet Gary Snyder and South African writer and scholar Julia Martin

In this thoughtful, affectionate collection of interviews and letters spanning three decades, beloved poet Gary Snyder talks with South African writer and scholar Julia Martin. Over this period many things changed decisively—globally, locally, and in their personal lives—and these altered conditions provide the backstory for a long conversation. It begins in the early 1980s as an intellectual exchange between an earnest graduate student and a generous distinguished writer, and becomes a long-distance friendship and an exploration of spiritual practice.

Through letters and interviews, Snyder and Martin discuss everything from ecological and gender politics, to issues of community, bioregion, and place, to Snyder’s priorities for writing and core musings like suffering, old age, sickness, and death. 

At the project’s heart is Snyder’s understanding of Buddhism. Again and again, the conversations return to an explication of the teachings. Snyder’s characteristic approach is to articulate a direct experience of Buddhist practice rather than any kind of abstract philosophy. In the version he describes here, this practice finds expression not primarily as an Asian import or a monastic ideal, but in the specificities of a householder’s life as lived creatively in a particular location at a particular moment in history. This means that whatever “topic” a dialogue explores, there is a sense that all of it is about practice—the spiritual-social practice of a contemporary poet.


  • Designated as Finalist for Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award
  • Winner of University of the Western Cape Arts Faculty Research Award


“Gives wise advice about writing and life....His joy in ideas is contagious.”

Publishers Weekly

“This engrossing collection grants us a new perspective on Snyder and his work and compellingly human insights into Buddhism, writing, and place.”


More reviews »
Nobody Home cover
  • Price: $17.95 buy »
  • Pages: 280
  • Size: 5 x 7
  • Published: Nov 2014
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595342515
  • Price: $17.95 buy »
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595342522


Writers / Writing