Ice Mountain: An Elegy
publication date: January 25, 2016
132 pages, 6" x 9", paperback
$14.95 print, $9.95 digital (downloadable .pdf)
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Now available in print and digital editions!
Ice Mountain: An Elegy
by Dave Bonta
with illustrations by Elizabeth Adams
Aldo Leopold once observed that "one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds." In Ice Mountain: An Elegy, poet and naturalist Dave Bonta invites us to share this solitude. In spare, linked verses informed by decades of close study of his home ground, he chronicles the slow end of winter on a mountaintop in central Pennsylvania, part of a landscape subtly but profoundly shaped by the last Ice Age. With climate change accelerating, how many more years will we get to appreciate a true Appalachian spring?
But our ham-fisted efforts to address global warming also come with a price, and Bonta laments the damage done by installing a wind plant on the neighboring ridge—Ice Mountain. Looking both inward and outward, this is a poetry too honest to take refuge in easy solutions but too much in love with the world to indulge in despair.
The 132-page book includes illustrations from original linocuts by Elizabeth Adams, and is beautifully printed with a heavy, matte-varnished cover.
In Bonta’s close, daily observations we are instructed in what still remains and what has gone missing. With spare language and his instinctive use of metaphor, Bonta demonstrates a consciousness willing to do battle with those who have, as he writes, pinned down Ice Mountain “with turbines / like a felled mammoth / the spears still quivering.” We should be thankful for such poems that remind us of the precious offering the world makes. I can’t think of anything better to do this winter than to follow this poet’s counsel and “get a bowl of fresh snow / not to eat but just to admire / like cut flowers.”
Todd Davis, author of Winterkill and In the Kingdom of the Ditch
Bonta's sparse lines mimic the stark realities of a season that tests the survival of its inhabitants, “the opossum out at mid-day,” or the rhododendron leaves “stripped /by starving deer.” This rich and complex forest is in direct contrast with the paucity of life on Ice Mountain under the turbines, which he aptly calls “flowers for the dead.” Ice Mountain may be lost, but Bonta’s poems provide inspiration to protect other mountains and their inhabitants.
Laura Jackson, President of Save Our Allegheny Ridges, a non-profit devoted to protecting Pennsylvania’s forested mountains from industrial development
Dave Bonta is a writer, editor, and web publisher. He's perhaps most widely known as the publisher of Moving Poems, a daily compendium of poetry videos from around the web. His own videopoems have been screened in galleries and festivals in Buenos Aires, Athens, and Leicester, U.K. In 2010, Phoenicia Publishing brought out Odes to Tools, a small book of 25 poems that originally appeared at his literary blog Via Negativa. Another Via Negativa-derived collection, Breakdown: Banjo Poems, was selected by Sascha Feinstein as co-winner of the 2011 Keystone Chapbook Prize and published by Seven Kitchens Press. Ice Mountain is his first full-length print collection.
Dave lives on a mountaintop in central Pennsylvania as well as on the internet. He serves on the board of the Juniata Valley Audubon Society, based in Altoona, PA., despite the fact that he says he's "not a real birdwatcher."
Radio host Jason Crane interviews Dave Bonta about his new book, his very specific way of observing and writing about nature, the difficulties of choosing "green" energy sources, and lots more, in this excellent, wide-ranging twenty-minute conversation.
Author photo by Alison Kent, knitwear by Rachel Rawlins in an Icelandic design named after Odin, the bringer of poetry to humans.