Salt & Roses by Buffy McKay

Buffy McKay is a poet of power. In Salt & Roses, she looks hard at life across a range of free verse, villanelles, and haikus, and leaves us with poignant and glimmering lines that can stop you dead in your tracks. When she captures the ethereal essence of inner and outer landscapes, you can imagine her with the likes of Mary Oliver and Elizabeth Bishop, sipping tea and swapping lines about fish.

— Doug Pope, author of The Way to Gaamaak Cove

The gorgeous poems in Buffy McKay’s Salt & Roses traverse the wilds of Alaska and comb the watery landscapes of Rhode Island and Scotland. McKay’s connection to each place runs deep, and these roots she shares in a generous and loving way. In one poem, she illustrates how ancestry lives in a smoked fish and her mother’s word for it: dunghnak. This collection sensually explores the lands dear to McKay, family homelands which nourish her body as well as her soul. She captures life’s beauty with a wide-angle lens. Yes, there are salt and roses within these pages, but also cancer, death, loss, and regret. More than a book of poems, Salt & Roses is a book of prayers.

— Martha Amore, author of In the Quiet Season and Other Stories

Pomace stubbles the pint glass
Buffy in Scotland
One day of sun, three of rain
Buffy in a cabin in Skagway, Alaska
My hand, fingers spread
Holds my chest
The river is the voice of always
Adept as the moon of your fingernail
Describes the skin on my body
Buffy practicing her regret
To her indigenous mother
Her spine creaks
She fiddles with words
To make this beautiful book

— James P. Sweeney, author of A Thousand Prayers: Alaska Climbing Expedition: Marine Life Solidarity

Publisher: Sandra Kleven

Cirque Press Author — Roberta "Buffy" McKay

Salt & Roses by Buffy McKay
Roberta "Buffy" McKay

Roberta “Buffy” McKay is of Scottish and Inupiat descent. She enjoys writing about memory, time and place, and has written poems since age 3. First published in the We Alaskans section of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anchorage Daily News in 1993, her work has appeared in various literary journals including Cirque. She has won scholarships to the Community of Writers, Olympic Valley, CA and Billy Collins’ master class at The Key West (FL) Literary Seminar and remains grateful for their value and life lessons.

“I’m inspired by my environment and geography and their effects on me. I’ve lived in some incredible places and had some amazing adventures so far in this life, and that seems to turn into poems.”

Currently, Buffy can be found beachcombing with a new dog, Benji, in New England and writing her autobiography, To Sir Sean Connery, With Love.