Wild Honey, Tough Salt

Wild Honey, Tough Salt gathers citizen poems for tough times—with testaments for world community, spells for peace, earth blessings, and family consolations. 

Wild Honey, Tough Salt offers a prismatic view of Earth citizenship, where we must be ambidextrous now. The book takes a stern look inward, calling for sturdy character and supple spirit, and a bold look outward, seeking ways to engage troubling grief. The book begins with poems that witness for a buoyant life in a difficult world: wandering New Orleans in a trance, savoring the life of artist Tove Jansson, reading the fine print on the Mexican peso and the Scottish five-pound note. Clues to untapped energy lie everywhere by the lens of poetry. The book then moves to considerations of the worst in us—torture and war. How to recruit a child soldier? How to be married to the heartless guard? What to say to a child enamored by bullets? In the third section, the book offers a spangle of poems blessing the earth: wren song, bud growth, river’s eager way with obstacles. And the final section offers poems of affection: infant clarities of home, long marriage in dog years, a consoling campfire in the yard when all seems lost. The book will soften your trouble, and give you spirit for the days ahead.


“Kim Stafford is the most humane poet going, devotedly writing every day, sharing encouragement and generous care everywhere. His eloquent lines, so deeply attentive to each moment, shimmer with breathtaking leaps and humble wisdom. They will help you live. Especially now.”—Naomi Shihab Nye

Wild Honey, Tough Salt demonstrates Kim Stafford’s remarkable talent for coming to the heart. These poems rise beautifully and naturally from their settings, whether a morning in a forest, or inside an ancient myth, or high on a ridge above Big Basin. Wild Honey, Tough Salt contains poems of quest, reconciliation, and joy, offering the reader enlightening variations on the essence of heart and self in communion. “Everything spoke, and I was / nothing but listening.”—Pattiann Rogers, Burroughs Medal winner for Lifetime Achievement in Nature Poetry

A black and white photograph of a forest and blue script towards the top that reads Wild Honey, Tough Salt poems by Kim Stafford.

Kim Stafford ( Author Website )

Publication Date: April 23, 2019

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$16.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-159709-896-0