Literary Nonfiction. THE WAY TO THORONG LA celebrates John Brandi's mountain travels, beginning with a boyhood hike where he stands "in limitless sky" with his father on a granite dome in California's Sierra Nevada. "A wild delight," he called it. "An exalted connection with all that I saw." As a grown man his exaltation continues as he journeys into the "razor-sharp mesas and glittering peaks" of the American Southwest, and to the "elusive heights that vanish into the jet stream"—the Himalayas of Nepal and Sikkim. Brandi's keen eye for particularities make for an absorbing read, as does his use of the haibun (a Japanese literary form combining prose and haiku). This is not simply a travel book, but a record of the importance of "straying from what you know" to enter an unexpected correspondence between the inner self and the mountain world. 72 pages. Two Himalayan mountain-trek narratives, eight haibun, seven pen-and-ink drawings.
"Brandi's work seeks source and renewal in new geographies and in the act of travel with its inevitable encounters and mysteries. Lucky for us that John's a praiser, a psalmist if you will, affirming and preserving the facts of his life his art abounds in."—David Meltzer
"Brandi writes about the natural world with insight and respect. He offers more than a recitation of places he's been or a call to honor the environment. He connects the reader to the exterior and interior aspects of his active experience as witness to the mountain world."—Jennifer Levin
"Brandi writes honestly and wittily; his prose is swift and crisp. Like another poet, Leonard Cohen, who wondered rhetorically if travel leads us to anywhere, Brandi seems to suggest that destination is not as important as the act of adventuring itself."—Preston Houser
John Brandi has been an active walker, writer and visual artist since boyhood rambles in the Sierra Nevada. After graduating from California State University, Northridge, he joined the Peace Corps and worked with Andean serfs who were uniting to regain their land rights. His many books of poetry, prose, haiku, and haibun have earned him a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, poetry-in-the- schools residencies in Yupik, Navajo, and Pueblo communities, a White Pine Press World of Voices Poetry Award, six Witter Bynner Foundation teaching grants, and a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award for A House By Itself: Selected Haiku of Masaoka Shiki. In 1979 he traveled to India to retrace his father's WW II journey as an army private in the India-Burma Theater. It was the first of many visits that led to the Himalayas of Nepal, Ladakh and Sikkim. He recently authored The Great Unrest (White Pine Press), a collection of poems, and Planet Pilgrim (Palace Press), his paean to Japanese poet, Nanao Sakaki.Author City: EL RITO, NM USA