Kim Stafford: Wild Honey, Tough Salt
Oregon Poet Laureate Kim Stafford joins us to read from his new collection of poems, Wild Honey, Tough Salt.
Stafford’s new collection offers a prismatic view of Earth citizenship, where we must now be ambidextrous. The book takes a stern look inward calling for sturdy character and supple spirit, and a bold look outward seeking ways to engage grief trouble.
The book begins with poems that witness 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 your child who is enamored by bullets? In the third section, the book offers a spangle of poems blessing 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.
Stafford is Oregon’s ninth Poet Laureate of Oregon and the second Stafford to serve as Oregon’s Poet Laureate (his father, William Stafford, held the appointment from 1974 to 1989). Stafford is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, and the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, where he has taught since 1979. He holds a Ph.D. in Medieval Literature from the University of Oregon and has worked as a printer, photographer, oral historian, editor, and visiting writer at a host of colleges and schools, as well as offering writing workshops in Italy, Scotland, and Bhutan. He lives in Portland with his wife and children.