The High Sierra of California

Poems and Journals by Gary Snyder, Woodcuts by Tom Killion

This edition of The High Sierra of California was adapted from the handprinted book that Tom Killion produced during the period from 1997 to 2000 at this Quail Press studio in Santa Cruz. The original edition was limited to 129 copies, printed on handmade Japanese papers in a folio format measuring about fifteen by twenty inches, with illustrations printed from Killion's hand-carved wood and linoleum blocks. Each section opened with a decorative Japanese paper to evoke the season and closed with a full-page woodcut image. Collectors immediately acquire all available copies, and Killion has since decided to make the book available to the general public.

Artfully designed and adapted to the new format, and enhanced with additional excerpts from the backpacking journals of Gary Snyder, The High Sierra of California is, in Killion's words, "a richer book, both visually and textually, and very pleasing to the bookmaker in me."

The book features extensive excerpts from Gary Snyder's never-before-published backpacking journals, covering nearly forty years of exploration — personal and spiritual as well as geographic — in the high country. Here is a book by two artists who have, like John Muir, been challenged and inspired by the High Sierra. It is an extraordinary collaboration, exquisite and earthy — a work of art in its own right.   Working from sketches made on mountaineering trips over a period of thirty years, Tom Killion uses traditional Japanese and European woodcut techniques to create riveting images of the high country — mostly above 9,000 feet and accessible only on foot — from Yosemite south to the Whitney and Kaweah crests.

Adding poems and excerpts from Snyder's journals, which chronicle more than forty years of foot travel through the Sierra, Killion has fulfilled a long-held dream of creating a fine art book about the High Sierra. This book offers a unique opportunity to look into the day-to-day thoughts of one of America's most celebrated literary figures while savoring the beauty of California and glimpsing the spiritual renewal that so many have sought and found in the High Sierra. This powerful blend of Muir's classic Sierra words, Snyder's personal reflections, and Killion's unique but evocative art is a personal favorite of author/publisher Bob Lorentzen and our Sierra author, Sharon Giacomazzi.

128 pages, 11-½" x 9", full-color cover, 39 color prints, 17 black & white prints, hand-drawn map of the High Sierra by Tom Killion, notes, key to poems based on Snyder journals, sources of quotations from John Muir, 2002.
Published by Heyday Books in association with the Yosemite Association.
ISBN 978-1-890771-99-7     trade paper



The High Sierra of California Poems and Journals by Gary Snyder, Woodcuts by Tom Killion inside image

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