The Taste of Water and Stone is a deer trail through the last decade of Kirkey’s poetry. Along its course, it charts a way through mountains, forests, and estuaries, through personal transformations and mythic encounters. The selected works have been revisited and revised to stand comfortably alongside a series of new poems. The result is a collection in answer to and enactment of the question, “how do we rewild the human heart?”
“Here are the tender heartsongs of a man whose contemplative mind begins in the soles of his feet and rises upward like a wildfire, whose appetite and appreciation for every living thing will not be quelled. Page after page, Kirkey boldly opens his heart toward the world and invites us to do the same, suffering and savoring all the richly complex consequences of that vulnerable stance where the shields have all fallen away…”Timothy McLaughlin
The poems in this book are an attempt to speak in a common tongue with mountains, rivers, and forests. Too often poetry is thought of as the domain of human creativity with its source in the depths of the imagination. We use it to speak of the world, but not to the non-human world—let alone with it. The poems in Estuaries suggest that speech and poetry are fundamentally rooted in the ecosystem—the detritus of fallen leaves, the curvature of a river bend, and the sound of rain on a heron’s wings. All of this might be regarded as the speech of the Earth. When we speak or write poetry that engages these voices we become a participant in the patterns of the watershed.
Estuaries begins with water and ends with the return of all physical things “to the damp fungal mycelia of soil” which nourishes regrowth. If poems are part of this cycle, Kirkey’s final question about the usefulness of poets is easily answered. Estuaries is a book you’ll keep returning to the way you’d revisit a favorite spot by a river, a place that remains recognizable through the constant change brought about by water and seasons.Sherry Rind
Soul and Nature—the inner and outer landscape—are one: they are the wildness of the world and the wildness of the self. To alienate ourselves from one is to alienate ourselves from the Other.
Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal (Mind-Body-Spirit Category)
“Here at the end of the Cenozoic Era with the life systems withering away, a surprising creativity appears, a kind of mystical balancing act. The world’s spiritual traditions are entering into deeply engaged conversations through which the riches of each are ignited in new ways. With The Salmon in the Spring, Jason Kirkey has boldly carved out his place in this exciting work with his original interpretations of the concepts and stories of ancient Ireland . . . Kirkey’s vision speaks directly to our present ecological challenge. Rejecting those nature-denying forms of spirituality that have been used too easily to justify our domestication of the planet, The Salmon in the Spring announces its thrilling spiritual foundation: “Our wild nature is our soul.”Brian Swimme