Hewing to Experience charts Sherman Paul's course of coming to know William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and Gary Snyder and the critical scholarship devoted to them as it provides an assessment of recent criticism. The initial section, on criticism and poetry, sets out many of the insistences that give this valuable collection of essays and reviews its coherence. Considered are criticism, poetics, poetry and old age, ethnopoetics, the gift exchange of imagination, and the recent and controversial enterprise of canon formation.
The final section of Hewing to Experience provides an important, meditative rereading of the work of Barry Lopez that convincingly places ecological writing within the large revisionist project of avant-garde poetry. Of particular note, too, is the full commentary on the Olson-Creeley correspondence.
Throughout, Paul's humane enthusiasm is evident. Hewing to Experience merits the readership of all those who are interested in contemporary poetry and concerned with the ongoing criticism of major poets and with critical practice.