The Bindery hosts Alicia Mountain reading from High Ground Coward, winner of the 2017 Iowa Poetry Prize. Joining her for a reading and conversation is Brittany Perham (Double Portrait)—join us!
Alicia Mountain’s urgent and astonishing debut collection maps a new queer landscape through terrain alive and sensual, defiant and inviting. With a voice that beckons while it howls, Mountain nimbly traverses lyric, confessional, and narrative modes, leaving groundbreaking tracks for us to follow. High Ground Coward offers fists full of soil, leftovers for breakfast, road trip as ritual, twins of lovers and twins of ourselves. This world blooms with hunger-inducing detail, its speakers asking us to consider what it will take to satisfy our own appetites while simultaneously trying to nourish one another. “Ferocious, even the softest part,” Mountain shows us “a way to fall in love with wanting,” leaving us “ravenous, but gradually.”
Bearing witness to identity formation in solitude and communion, High Ground Coward is an almanac of emotional and relational seasons. Mountain’s speakers question the meaning of inheritance, illness, violence, mythology, and family architecture. Whether Mountain is at work revealing the divinity of doubt, the entanglement of devotion, or the dominion that place holds over us, High Ground Coward heralds a thrilling poetic debut.
“Alicia Mountain looks at every tiny thing very closely, and in doing that conveys the big picture of a vast inner life with marvelous clarity and depth. Her voice is intimate, brash, always precise, heartbreaking in both its vulnerability and its authority. These poems are carried away by both lust and intelligence. This poet understands desire: its expression lets loose while giving form. This book doesn’t detour, it goes right to and through the overpowered, relentless heart of its speaker and the reader is struck through too, and good. High Ground Coward is a dazzling debut by a rare, true talent.” – Brenda Shaughnessy, judge, Iowa Poetry Prize
Alicia Mountain is the author the collection High Ground Coward (Iowa), which won the 2017 Iowa Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Thin Fire (BOAAT Press). She is a queer poet, a PhD candidate at the University of Denver, and an assistant editor of the Denver Quarterly. Mountain earned her MFA in poetry at the University of Montana. Keep up with her at aliciamountain.com.
Brittany Perham is the author of Double Portrait (W.W. Norton, 2017), which was selected by Claudia Rankine for the Barnard Women Poets Prize; The Curiosities (Free Verse Editions, 2012); and, with Kim Addonizio, the collaborative chapbook The Night Could Go in Either Direction (SHP, 2016). She is a Jones Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. She lives in San Francisco.