Book review by Donna Ford, The US Review of Books
Reflections on Mountaineering: A Journey Through Life as Experienced in the Mountains by Alan V. Goldman
"I revel in that special...uncertainty of the outcome,
Regardless of skill, that is experienced during the bond of indulging
Ourselves in...Dangerous sheer joy of climbing,"
This book of poems and musings delivers whiffs of the rarefied atmosphere that mountain climbers breathe. Hardy souls, like the author, thrive whether they ascend to the summit or wisely descend in safety. The lives of mountaineers depend on their roped partners, toe holds, and pegs pounded into rock walls as they climb beside ridges with mountain goat views. Avalanches, glacier crevasses, and frostbite are hazards of snow country. Miles of loose scree and less dense air challenge the last miles. This book describes climbing a volcano and crossing the Continental Divide. Ultimate views from a summit have made it worthwhile for both the author and famous climbers, such as Muir, Mallory, and Alexander. At the Vale of Kashmir, the latter wept [as they say] that there were "no more worlds to conquer."
With life often lived close to the line, Goldman acknowledges that mountaineers accept the vagaries of time mentioned in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He describes the climber's call as fulfilling the work of creation by traveling where nature left "a blank on the map" and then finding meaning in this hidden corner. As a talented practicing lawyer, now retired, Goldman skillfully stages his arguments, analyses the mountain's likely replies, and anticipates emotional responses that will assault his readers along the dangerous climb to the top. Of his seventy-three offerings in this revised version, some poems rhyme, and others are written in rhythmic blank verse. Goldman's analytical mind tends to wrap the last stanza/sentence into a dramatic summation. For example, he ends one poem, despite the failings expressed within it, with the poignant line, "We have not lost our way on the trip to the top."
RECOMMENDED by the US Review
I’ve really enjoyed the journey these poems took me on to new heights without setting foot out of my apartment. I might as well have been on the Matterhorn. The experiences of beinI’ve really enjoyed the journey these poems took me on to new heights without setting foot out of my apartment. I might as well have been on the Matterhorn. The experiences of being one with nature were quite vivid. The pieces pack powerful images and I was glad I was along for the ride.g one with nature were quite vivid. The pieces pack powerful images and I was glad I was along for the ride.
Book review by Anthony Avina, Pacific Book Review
Something which not everyone has been fortunate enough to learn for themselves is that while scholastic achievements and learning at a college level can be great for some people, there are many lessons which can be learned from nature and the world itself; lessons not even textbooks and highly educated teachers can teach. As John Lubbock once said, “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.” In author and poet Alan V. Goldman’s Reflections on Mountaineering: A Second Revised and Expanded Edition: A Journey Through Life as Experienced in the Mountains,
The author explores the adventure and the true nature of mountaineering and exploration in the mountains through narrative poetry. Hoping to convey a sense of history and respect for the environment, as well as a healthy comparison between regular life and the life of a mountaineer, the author uses a blend of rhyming and blank verse poetry to bring the mountaineer life to readers everywhere.
A truly thoughtful and beautifully written collection of poetry which captures both the author’s vivid imagery and the beauty of nature all at once, the narrative aspect of the poems really bring readers into the mountaineer experience. From the face-value approach of the poetry that showcases the journey to and into the mountains which mountaineers often face, to the layered way the author equates this journey with life’s greatest venture, the author applies human meaning on nature’s blank canvas. The artistry and creativity these poems infuse into that very narrative makes this a memorable experience.
This is the perfect read for those who enjoy narrative poetry, especially poems which also infuse philosophy and belief into the story – and blend this with a very real-world look at nature and ecology as a whole where it pertains to mountains. As a fan of poetry, I was moved and engaged in this author’s narrative into such an often overlooked or missed aspect of nature, and as someone interested in the mystery and visuals of mountains, this was a truly one of a kind read. Artful, impactful and stunningly written, author Alan V. Goldman’s Reflections on Mountaineering is a must-read book of poetry. A perfect blend of imagery and engaging poetry, the author’s book does a remarkable job of capturing the reader’s attention and crafting a narrative that is thought-provoking and memorable.
Reviews by Amazon Customers
5 Stars! This collection of poems strings together a series of thought-provoking vignettes. They address the relationship between humans and nature, and the mountains often symbolize what we seek to conquer or achieve. I enjoyed the clever language and the vivid imagery.
I received this book as a gift-and what a wonderful gift it was.
The poems are beautiful and tell an amazing story that could only be told by an avid mountaineer.
They paint a clear and vivid picture and at some points so detailed you can feel the cold.
I recommend this beautiful book to anyone who dares to dream.
One of the poems in this book is titled “My Soul Lures Me Higher”
Reading this book did just that.
This collection of poems strings together a series of thought-provoking vignettes. They address the relationship between humans and nature, and the mountains often symbolize what we seek to conquer or achieve. I enjoyed the clever language and the vivid imagery.