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Alan V. Goldman
Reflections on Mountaineering: A Journey Through Life as Experienced in the Mountains (FIFTH EDITION, Revised and Expanded) with

Adult; Poetry; (Market)

Presented as one hundred fifteen narrative-style poems, some of which are rhyming and others are in prose or blank verse, Reflections on Mountaineering, A Journey Through Life as Experienced in the Mountains, a FOURTH EDITION, summarizes much of what the author, Alan V. Goldman, learned in his more than 30 years of climbing, either from personal experience, or from his mountaineering peers. Mr. Goldman came to realize that many of the same moral issues that confront us in everyday life are likewise present in the high mountains, only to a sharper degree. Still, many of the poems reflect on themes and situations that are peculiarly prominent in the mountain environment. Collectively, the poems constitute a "meditation" on the nature of reality itself as perceived in the context of exploring the limits of human understanding and achievement. Musing on topics such as awe and wonder, fear and how to confront it, the lure of the big mountains, as well as the role of luck, fate and chance, Mr. Goldman makes accessible to the general public the otherwise "hidden" truths that mountaineers often experience. Further, many of the poems address the human perception of reality in the context of the meaning of life itself, and of how climbers impart meaning to the mountains by the very act of climbing them.
This fifth edition of Goldman’s adventurous collection inspired by 30 years of mountaineering adds ten new poems that join the others in exploring the lore, terror, technique, and emotional journey of what he calls the “useless and dangerous sheer joy of climbing.” His poems detail his experiences on peaks ranging from the Eiger to Kilimanjaro and include fascinating glimpses into the nuts-and-bolts of mountaineering, from crampons and carabiners to unstable scree and avalanches. But while these aspects of Reflections on Mountaineering may resonate most readily with other “Seekers” (his term for mountaineers like himself), Goldman’s verses offer much even for those who have never seen a summit.

In clear language that blends a coaching tone with the elemental directness of cliff faces, Goldman showcases what mountains and mountaineering can reveal about universal experiences, such as being afraid, growing old, and confronting a challenge. Occasionally readers will hear echoes of the author’s years as a Harvard-trained lawyer, not just in his sophisticated vocabulary and cultural references or occasional burst of Latin, but also in his precision and clarity, such as his consideration of the limits of a rope partner’s responsibilities in “Rope Partner of Mine.” Similarly, he pursues a kaleidoscopic inquiry into what mountains mean to climbers throughout the book, embracing the question’s nuances and possibilities.

The poems take on varied forms, from more traditional poetic couplets and stanzas to blank verse and robust prose poems. The new entries showcase the stylistic diversity: “Hidden Peak” begins with a familiar AABB rhyme scheme, whereas “Guarded Revelation” plunges readers into a ragged, unpredictable rhythm that mimics the speaker’s racing pulse and culminates in a wild surge of words representing his epiphany. Though summiting a mountain may appear a straightforward (though not simple) act, Goldman’s work reveals its beauty and its complexity, showing how its rippling implications reach even those far below its peak.

Takeaway: Impassioned, incisive poems of climbers, mountains, and life.

Comparable Titles: Nan Shepherd, Gary Snyder.

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Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-