David Rothenberg's new exploration reveals the unique sounds of underwater life by world renowned musician and naturalist.
In SECRET SOUNDS OF PONDS, environmental musician and ecopoet David Rothenberg tosses a microphone into a pond and we read (and hear) about an entirely new realm: the unexpected and stirring rhythms of some of the smallest and loudest creatures on Earth. Recording the songs of the animals and plants inhabiting each pond reveals a different perspective than what we meet in our human society. Rothenberg makes this music real though his engaging prose and conversations with environmentalists ranging from Werner Herzog to Peter Gabriel to ecologists specializing in these unique waterscapes. Each pond episode brings the reader closer to a new understanding of the non-human world that we share.
Rothenberg has previously investigated, recorded, and collaborated with the music of birds and whales. Now he writes, "Having heard the pond, I want to join the pond, making music no one species could make alone." His energizing and technological research combines with a musician's and poet's creative aptitude as he discovers the orchestration of ecosystems, uncovering new connections lurking beneath the silent surface. SECRET SOUNDS OF PONDS is replete with full-color photographs and musical works presented both as colorful spectrograms and as QR codes that you can listen to with your phone. Some are musical, some are rhythmic, some Rothenberg accompanies on his clarinet. Roof Books is pleased to present its readers with this entirely new poetry of sound and humanity.
Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. Hybrid. Music. Nature.
"It's now obviously urgent that we find a way back into balance with nature that observes, respects and integrates us into what we have left of the natural world. It's great to see and listen to David Rothenberg's work, harnessing science and music to point out the path of potential dialogue with the natural world and all the wonderful creatures within it."
"Mind-expanding. Generative. A book full of sonic marvels. Rothenberg shows how deep listening can change us."
—David George Haskell, Sounds Wild and Broken and Songs of Trees
"On the page and through his musical instruments, David Rothenberg sounds like no one else. That's because he listens like no one else. Much more than a reading experience, this book is a listening experience. Savor these pages."
—Carl Safina, Beyond Words and Alfie and Me
"This music woke something in my brain that I never knew was there. The sounds and the intelligent beauty of the words have given me an entirely new category of music: one that makes me feel ecstatic and serene, thrilled and calm at the same time."
—Jay Griffiths, Wild and A Country Called Childhood
David Rothenberg has written and performed on the relationship between humanity and nature for many years. He is the author of Why Birds Sing (Basic Books, 2006), on making music with birds, also published in England, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, China, Korea, and Germany. It was turned into a feature length BBC TV documentary. His following book, Thousand Mile Song (Basic Books, 2010), is on making music with whales. It was turned into a film for French television. His book, recording, and film Nightingales in Berlin (University of Chicago Press), was published in April 2019. Previous books include Sudden Music (University of Georgia Press, 2002), Blue Cliff Record: Zen Echoes (2001), Hand's End (University of California Press, 1995), and Always the Mountains (University of Georgia Press, 2007).