Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gary Snyder -- "I Went into the Maverick Bar"

Truth be told, I had a hard time really getting into this poem. It's short (which isn't really a problem) but it also seems very straight forward--too straight forward. I had to read a couple of his other poems to try and get a feel for his style and make a decision as to whether this poem wasn't in his usual style. I found very quickly that it is exactly like him, and even is one of the things people expect from his poetry. But enough about my challenge deciphering this piece--I eventually found it to be quite compelling.

The poem is relatively clear cut in that it is literally about a time that the author "went into the Maverick Bar." But there are multiple layers to his experience that become more visible upon multiple readings. What I think is the core message of the poem is at the end. After taking in some different sights and experiencing his own reactions to them, the speaker of the poem leaves the bar. He and his companion go out "onto the freeway shoulders-- / under the tough old stars-- / In the shadow of bluffs." And it is there that he "[comes] back to [him]self, / To the real work, to / 'What is to be done.'" In the end he was able to find himself again when he returned to his element, to his mission/passion/reason for being--whatever we want to call it. So I'd like to ask about this in particular. How do you guys approach the idea of "mission" or "reason for being"? Especially as students, I think we're at a special place in our lives where this question is perhaps more important than other times (if that's even possible).

"I Went into the Maverick Bar" on PF:


  1. The poem did seem quite straight forward; he goes into a bar, drinks 2 shots, describes that he has long hair and earrings. I think of the idea of the reason for being is what we make of it. The way read the poem, Gary seems to be reflecting upon his self of sense during his visits to the bar. He doesn't interact with others, he seems to be observant and hides himself in the shadow of bluffs.

  2. This poem was really straight to the point,understanding but not really no emotion or any style of tones. she seemed rather uninterested. i think we are suppose to use our imagination on this one. As i read i felt as if she went in that bar with a friend to get away or maybe a long days at work. I can relate when she says "earring she left in the car" that is something i do after a long day. So maybe she was more so talking about her day in a different content. what you guys think?

  3. I personally think this poem has to do more with cultural difference, because the way the poets is describing the bar; your typical cowboy scenes and antics. it was hard to pick up exactly what the poet is trying to convey but as i continue reading the poem i felt as though hes emphasizing the bar not accepting a different type of culture, especially witht he title to the song " i dont smoke marijuana in muskokie", i thought the band is referring to a specific group of people or maybe distinguishing themselves from a different culture. What struck me is at the end of the poem where the poet mentions "We left—onto the freeway shoulders—
    under the tough old stars—
    In the shadow of bluffs
    I came back to myself,
    To the real work, to
    “What is to be done.”
    my interpretation is that the poet is maybe continuing with his/her regular normal routine, and what's reality for him/her. I dont know but thats what i think