In his first collection of new poems since Axe Handles (1983), Gary Snyder includes fifty-five new poems and prose poems. As longtime readers will recognize, this collection is unique in Snyder's oeuvre, finding the poet experimenting with a wide variety of styles, including an extended foray in the Japanese form haibun, "making it an American form," as the poet remarks. Two sections of poems exploring "intimate immediate life, gossip and insight" are some of the poet's most personal work.
Danger on Peaks begins with the poet's first climb of Mount St. Helens on August 13, 1945, and his learning on the morning after his descent about the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Again the poet visits Mount St. Helens in 2000 to view the blast site of the 1980 eruption. Then follow poems for the Buddhas of Bamiyan Valley and the World Trade Towers. More than a mere gathering of unrelated poems, Danger on Peaks is a constructed work, where every part contributes to the whole.