tom jay

Tom Jay was born in Manhattan, Kansas in 1943. His father¹s military and corporate careers necessitated frequent transfers: Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and California. After dropping out of college in the mid-sixties, he wandered the world for a couple of years, stowing away on a cruise ship to Europe. working in an Icelandic cement factory and on a Danish farm. Upon his return he discovered his life¹s calling as a bronze caster / sculptor. He came to Washington State to finish his education and graduated from Seattle University with a BA and an MFA from the University of Washington. He moved to Chimacum in 1969 and built and operated Riverdog Fine Arts Foundry until 1995. For the last 25 years he has worked with his wife Sara Mall Johani and co-operated with other volunteers to engage the community imagination in place-based culture through art, festivals, and educational adventures.

For more about Tom and his work as a sculptor and ecologist, please check out his website at

This is a book of poems and essays. The essays are the variously ripened fruit of the author’s passion to scout the spooky verge between language and nature. The imagination precipitated between humanity and the world around us provides the means for our meanings. (As a species we have lived in nature’s necessary wisdom far longer than we have in the quicksilver machinations of our wit.) The essays glance off and into the weathered mutual musings of word and world and pry at the nut-smooth knot we daily mouth. The essays aim to finger more finely the threads of their stories. The Blossoms Are Ghosts at the Wedding also hosts a band of witness poems and prose vignettes that want to sing between the live immensity of creation and the stubborn flicker of our awareness.

“Like salmon at sea, Jay's subjects range widely. His essays move easily and surely among history and folklore, nature and community. They explore the hidden roots of language and commonplace mysteries of watersheds. And his words inevitably circle back home - to the heart of what it means to be human in a wondrous but threatened world.”  - Tim McNulty

“For Tom Jay, language is a territory to be inhabited, ‘an atmosphere, a climate.’ To the reader, Jay provides a compass for locating the human soul in the landscape, as part of the landscape's own soul. I recommend Tom Jay's writing unreservedly to all young poets, to those prose writers who have yet to become cynical, and to naturalists inclined to use their studies to define their home.”  - Freeman House