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Gary Snyder

“The head of the mountain goat is in the corner…”

Reed College, February 14, 1956

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This poem became “Hunting 5,” titled, “The making of the horn spoon.” The poem was created almost word-for-word from anthropologist Franz Boas’s prose text, The Ethnology of the Kwakiutl, p. 104. Snyder’s startling exclamation at the end of the poem—“Wa, laEm gwala ts!ololaque ka •ts!Enaqe laxeq” —translates as “Now the black horn spoon is finished after this.” “Kwakiutl” was a term coined by Boas, used until the 1980s. The people now call themselves Kwakwaka’wakw and their language kwak’wala.

Introductory Remarks to “Beasts”
“First Shaman Song: In the village of the dead…” 
“‘Birds’—Birds in a whirl, drift to the rooftops…” 
“The swallow shell that eases birth…”
“Now some poems about bears…”
“‘Deer’—I dance on all the mountains…”
“‘Tiger’s Song’: I gnaw the body of delight…”
“The head of the mountain goat is in the corner…” 
“‘Mouse’— Cat wouldn’t finish that mouse…”
“Two Dance Songs for a Four-Crowned Dancing Hat”
“This is a poem for Maitreya, the future Buddha…”
“Gull came down slantwise over the deck…”
“This is in the Olympics, the Grey Wolf Valley…” 
“The Dosewallips Valley…In the ruins of a CCC shelter…”
“First day of the world…”
“How rare to be born a human being…”

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