Wilderness inspired poems composed on the trail by an American doctor/poet, sharing his love of the backcountry, trail-walking, camping, and the "wilderness effect," a unique sensation of aliveness and deep connection. Mayer's poetry explores our human experience of the natural world, our intimate and mysterious connections to flora and fauna. It proclaims the opportunity that walking mindfully in the wilderness offers to experience the divine. The uniqueness and intensity of these musings lead his poems to attempt reconciliation of our lived experience with physics, spirit, and music, the latter manifested in his experience of singing to the dying; the wisdom of nature rendered in music and consolation. A few poems are inspired by Mayer's medical practice. Some spring from his ordinary life and reflections on his childhood and family, which have followed him into the woods. "The American state of Vermont-and by extension the wider world-has gained a winner in the poet Jack Mayer. Who would have thought that Walt Whitman would ever return? In his nature-reverent, creation-respecting poems celebrating the great outdoors and asking the profound questions pertaining to human existence, Mayer has not only taken on the spiritual mantle of Whitman, but has given it his own always candid, humble and awed veneer, across more than 55 concise pieces. Refreshing, reflective, rewarding."-Vaughan Rapatahana, poet, literary critic, essayist and novelist, winner of the inaugural Proverse Poetry Prize. "Jack Mayer's free verse, like his universe, is ruled by the poet's inveterate unity with nature; he is one with the mountain birds, contemplating an American landscape that shapes his poetry and is shaped by it. Finding sacredness in the most common sights and sounds of nature, he tries to make sense out of memory and time through hiking and looks at man's paradoxical insignificance and centrality in God's creation. From dizzying heights, he surveys human civilization, and its discontents, with a scientific eye which knows that there is something in the human experience that escapes science - something that makes him animate his hiking tools, giving them life, lamenting their decay, and mourning their death. The hiking trails, the memories, and poetry are all things that Mayer has learned to master, yet they keep fascinating him endlessly."-Ahmed Elbeshlawy, author of Savage Charm (Proverse, 2019)"These poems, entered into the notebooks of Long Trail shelters by Jack Mayer's avatar the Mountain Poet, recall such earlier wilderness poets as Han Shan and Gary Snyder. Like those ancestors' dispatches from the heights, they combine reflections on time and reality with the glow of physical exertion in the open air. Mayer's humor also bubbles up in ways that make his voice a distinctive and delightful addition to this lineage."-John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains of Home"Ever since Emerson sent American poets into the woods to discover their souls, the connections between language and spirit have been steadily forged on this continent. Jack Mayer is a writer I've long admired, and in these bright, sensuous, deeply reflective poems we encounter a wilderness that exists on many levels: the Vermont trails that he loves, walks and dreams, and the contours of his own expansive spirit. I read these poems with increasing pleasure, and plan to return to them again and again. Mayer is a fine, fresh voice in American poetry."-Jay Parini, author of New and Collected Poems, 1975-2015.
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