“Reflections on Mountaineering is a poetic love letter to the indomitable spirits of Earths peaks.” Jeana Jorgensen, FORWARD CLARION REVIEWS (2022); “The whole work edifies in its celebration of a timeless meeting between natures awesome power and the brave souls willing to face their limits.” — Mari Carlson, US REVIEW OF BOOKS (2021).
The poetry book Reflections on Mountaineering: A Journey Through Life as Experienced in the Mountains (4th Edition) by Alan V. Goldman was displayed by ReadersMagnet at the 2022 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference & Exhibition held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. last June 24-27, 2022.
Goldmans poetry collection consists of one hundred fifteen poems that, inter alia, examine human frailties when confronted by the duress experienced during climbing. Included in the group are poems set in playful rhymes, blank verse, and structured prose — but all in a narrative format that makes the poems readily accessible to the general public.
Drawing insights from his avid avocation as a mountaineer, Goldmans poems offer a new way of coping with earthly impediments that might inhibit curiosity because of fear. The poems explore pragmatic anxieties experienced by mountaineers and people from all walks of life. With the magnificence of a mountain as his muse, Goldman masterfully ruminates about how duress and anxiety affect the human perception of time and reality.
Readers can take away what Goldman has learned about the psychological phenomenon of Flow — athletes would recognize this as being in the Zone — which is thought to exist when people experience the sensation of competent mastery over their environment because their capabilities are adequate to meet their responsibilities. In this situation, people experience a feeling of personal transcendence and serene exaltation while engaging in the discipline required to execute the adventures to come.
The very purpose of achieving such a state of Flow is to facilitate the ability to create human meaning out of nothingness — where nature has left nothing but a blank on the map. In this manner, the poems illustrate how climbers impart human meaning to the blank slate of the mountains by the very act of climbing them — the ultimate existentialist act.
Reflections on Mountaineering further dares its readers to recognize that the complex moral dilemmas which confront us in everyday life also exist in the mountains, only to a sharper degree.
Of course, the poems deal with the feelings evoked by striving for success in the mountains, but also with the feelings evoked by the trauma of defeat. Above all, there is human meaning to be found in the very preparation required for the trial of mountaineering, where people can experience the elation of conquest — of both the mountains and, more importantly, of themselves.
A recipient of the 2022 Pacific Book Award in the category of Sport, the book is a celebration of the limit of human achievement. Truly, Goldmans poetry is a testament to his insight into the nature of human aspiration. It is no wonder why it is well-received and favorably reviewed. Anyone who struggles through life can draw inspiration from Goldmans poignant words.
Ultimately, the poems recognize that the perpetual quest for the freedom of the hills that drives climbers strongly relates to the concept expressed in the Declaration of Independence about the unalienable right of persons to the pursuit of happiness — a right for which government itself is instituted among persons to protect.
Readers may easily obtain a copy of Reflections on Mountaineering” on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as other distinguished outlets.
Reflections on Mountaineering: Fourth Edition: A Journey Through Life as Experienced in the Mountains
Author | Alan V. Goldman
Genre | Psychology of Adventure; Risk Sports in the Natural World; Human Behavior under Duress
Publisher | Outskirts Press, Inc.
Published date | January 28, 2022
Book Retail Price | $11.73
Alan V. Goldman is a graduate of Horace Mann School (1975); Harvard College (1979); and Harvard Law School (1982). In addition to his avocation as an avid mountaineer, he practiced corporate litigation for many years and is now retired.
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