'The Practice of the Wild' is a film profile of the poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder. Snyder has been a creative force in all the major cultural changes that have created the modern world. Along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, he was a central figure of the Beat generation. He helped bring Zen Buddhism into the America scene, was an active participant in the anti-war movement and an inspiration for the quest for human potential. All along he was a founding intellect, essayist and leader of the new environmental awareness that supports legislation and preservation without losing sight of direct wild experience -- local people, animals, plants, watersheds and food sources.
This film, borrowing its name from one of Snyder's most eloquent non-fiction books, revolves around a life-long conversation between Snyder and his fellow poet and novelist Jim Harrison. These two old friends and venerated men of American letters converse while taking a wilderness trek along the central California coast in an area that has been untouched for centuries. They debate the pros and cons of everything from Google to Zen koans. The discussions are punctuated by archival materials and commentaries from Snyder friends, observers, and intimates who take us through the 'Beat' years, the years of Zen study in Japan up to the present -- where Snyder continues to be a powerful spokesperson for ecological sanity and bio-regionalism.